Double Bastard Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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Double Bastard AleDouble Bastard Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,300 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,300
Reviews: 2,073
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 444
Gots: 1,142 | FT: 41
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-27-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,300 | Reviews: 2,073
Photo of warriorsoul
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rust color...quite cloudy.
Head is a full finger of light tan head...thick, sudsy lace that has awesome cling to the side of my tulip glass.
Aroma is a subtle malty sweetness...raisins and hops w/ just a faint hint of alcohol.
Taste in very enjoyable..a thick malty goodness w/ a huge hop presence. Alcohol is well hidden in this brew. Mainly rum raisin and cherries in its flavor.
Mouthfeel is thick and the carbonation is spot on for its style.
Drinkability is great for 10%...this bomber will be gone in no time.
Thanks to JackStraw22 for the push to pull this one out from the cellar.

Photo of hustlemuscle
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mothers Day 2005. Perhaps not the best way to honor my mother, but...

An aggressive pour brought out a head that would make rootbeer proud, big fat bubbles sitting on a creamy looking base. A pretty copper/ruby color, with a nice train of carbonation running up the sides. Left thick lace as the level of beer receeded.

When I stick my nose into my glass, it is greeted by a tangy plum raisins alchohol bouquet. Yeasty biscuits come to mind too.

Fruity. Apples, mostly, but certainly an undercurrent of something else. Warming alchohol follows everything, and provides a little tang.The biscuty malt provides a base for everything, the hops are very mild, but show up as the beer warms.

Smooth, yet solid. The subdued hop presence never the less provides a bit of oil to the feel, the complexities of the flavor a little tang. It feels solid, thick.

Whew. Drinkable, but a sipper. A lot going on with the beer, all of it good. Halfway through a glass (which was only half a big bottle) I can feel it, a pleasant warmth that I can't attribute to the spring sunshine.

An interesting beer. I like it, but it is a sipper, a thinker of a beer. Not something I would sit at the back deck (if I had one) and drink, but an enjoyable beer for sure. I have yet to finish the bottle, but I certainly won't be driving anywhere this mothers day, thanks to the bastard.

Photo of oberon
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was actually the second time I was able to try this awesome brew and man I want more!Pours a rich deep copper with some amber hue with a one finger head that is gone pretty quickly,intense fruity aromas washed with alcohol with some brown sugar in there as well big and bold to say the least.Flavors are just sublime again the intense fruit and caramel up front but the big hop presence is felt to meet the big chewey maltiness half way to make this just exceptional.Thanks to Garagekegger for sharing another awesome beer.

Photo of HardTarget
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown bomber, 2003 release (cellared in fridge @ 45 degrees; sampled 4/2005)

Aroma: Rich dark fruit and a Cascade like grapefruit note that almost burns it’s so prominent. There are some vinous qualities, almost a brandied raisin smell. Alcohol is present, but infused with so many nice things.

Appearance: Half finger of tan head at the pour quickly evaporated before my eyes to some traces of bubbles . Glass is amber-plum colored and semi-opaque letting enough light through to show clarity and color, but little else.

Flavor: Maybe it’s the aging, but I’m amazed on how mellow and smooth this is. Rich dark malt holds all the fruit flavors of raisin, plum, and dates. Firm but not harsh hop character comes in about mid taste showing strength to cut the sweetness, but restraint in only letting a mild hop flavor and burn come through. A very mild alcohol taste in the finish, but only a playful tickle where it should be a crushing fist. As it warms a bit of a roasted malt and tobacco flavor comes through.

Mouthfeel: Serious chew called for; the body is very full and rich. A nice dry finish as well. Only traces of carbonation noted which really fits the overall profile of this beast. It numbed everything it came in contact with.

Overall Impression: Wow. Scary how easy it is to drink. Where this should be an assault on many levels, it’s more of a subversion; the dagger in the back from a treacherous lover rather than the jackboot of a thug. I could drink another bomber and wake up in front of my computer tomorrow; damn the torpedoes. I cellared this for close to two years to celebrate a long project. As it turned out, it’s more consolation than celebration, but it would serve either purpose nicely. Strongly recommended.

Mad props to an outstanding BA: weefishheads for the trade. He traded with me as a newbie BA and showed me what an outstanding community this really is. Sorry you had to wait so long on the review.

"Ye shall know the Bastard, and the Bastard shall set you free."

2015 Edit, on of the granddaddies of the craft brew go big movement, but a lot of other great beers have gone beyond where this now sits.
Taking taste down to 4.5 and over all down to 4.5 (from 5s)

Photo of MrSeth
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've become very partial to Double Bastard over this past winter. It's made many a session rewarding.

The smell is like fruitcake.. citrus, cherry, nuts and spiced bread. Hops and alcohol lurk in the background....

The taste is of huge malt.. all sorts of fruity flavors may be noted.. and a strong bitter hops finish. The taste has nuttiness and a deep over-ripe cherry flavor. Sweet with a touch of puckering tartness at the end.

The alcohol creeps out as you continue to drink Double Bastard. Surprising the first time you notice that to go with the huge malt and hops is an equally formidable alcohol in this ABW.

Photo of Beaver13
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 22 oz bottle. Pours a reddish copper with a big fluffy off-white (almost orangeish) head that retains well and laces the glass. The first pour is clear, the second has some miniscule floaties.

The aroma is piney, grassy hops, some pineapple fruitiness, and a dose of spicy alcohol.

The flavor is sweet fruity caramel malts, pepper, and some woodiness followed by a big spicy alcoholic hop finish. It is medium to full bodied and fairly velvety, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Overall, an excellent brew. Big in every way (especially hops and alcohol), yet not overbearing and fairly well balanced - it is almost too sweet at times. The more I drink, the smoother it gets! Reminds me quite a bit of Great Divide's Old Ruffian.

Photo of thesilverhand
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very enticing beer. It pours a bright red-gold with a thin tan head, and is slightly hazy with suspended particles. Attractive.
The nose is very good, with thick pine-needle hops and caramelized, slightly burnt sugars.
The flavour follows, with pine hops and a touch of sweetness up front. All sweetness is obliterated as the beer reaches the back of the tongue and bitterness hits. The bitterness is overwhelming, but not unpleasant. Probably not great if you're not a hop fan, though!
The finish is long and bitter, with alcohol heat (surprisingly well hidden in the flavour) sliding all the way down the chest, and lingering long after the beer is gone.
In the mouth, bitter pine hop resins give it a long, drawn-out aftertaste.
Very, very nice. Again, probably not the best barleywine for those who prefer their hops gentle. But for me, quite fantastic.

Photo of Wonka
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz.
10% Alc. Vol.

“Ye Shall Know the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free.”

Appearance – not-quite-clear light rust body; cream-colored head that’s bigger than most barley wines I’ve seen; lace is a great sheet then a big break to the bottom; almost a 4 but it squeaked into a 4.5

Smell – more malty than the taste; deep caramel malt sets the base; pine hop bite

Taste – pine and grapefruit rind hop bite; bigger hops than I recall from most barley wines but deep caramel sets the base; some dark fruit; a bit of alcohol; grapefruit rind bitter aftertaste

Mouthfeel – full, smooth and silky until the close when the alcohol cuts in a bit; for its size, I couldn’t imagine a better feel; perfect

Drinkability – The 22 oz. is certainly numbing and questions the nerve system supplying your teeth; the smoothness puts the drinkability in an elite area

After a weekend full of a Stone barrage, their brews have set hop bruises in my chops.

Photo of troutmask96
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Another amazing brew from Stone Brewing, and wow, what a beer this is. Pours a very dark mahogany, leaving a lacy head. The smell's really nothing special, but wait until you put this baby to your lips. Oh, joy! The complexity hits you like a freight train, with notes of raisins, dates, caramel, and chocolate. Wow, wow, wow. Don't drink this one with dinner - enjoy sips of it for dessert. I put this right up there with some of my favorite Trappist brews, and that's a remarkable achievement for a domestic brewery. My hat's off to you, Stone...

Photo of asabreed
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2004 release. Bomber. Poured into a wine glass.

I have two others sitting, but since it's been a year since I had a taste last, I figured I'd buy another to have now and actually review.

Appearance: Beautiful red / amber color, fluffy white head full of mini bubbles that slowly recedes, some spotty lacing around the glass as I drink. Fantastic.

Smell: Fruitiness and malt upfront. Pear, cherry, berries. Some oily hop aromas in the back. Some yeast and bread. Extremely well-balanced, as nothing comes through more than anything else.

Taste: The fruit and sweetness are apparent right away. Some oily hop bitterness is apparent upon after taste, but it's not pervasive. The flavors of fruit are more discernible as it warms, with pear being the most dominant. Some bready and yeasty aromas that help to balance everything too. Amazingly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Very very nice. The tiny bubbles in the appearance come through the make the mouthfeel velvety and carbonated perfectly. I could swish this around all the time.

Drinkability: I don't want more than maybe one a month because this is such a treat. Thankfully I have two left as I write this.

Stone continues to be one of the best breweries around. Some may say this is their best beer, and I'm pretty close to saying it also. Regardless, this is a great beer, and I will continue to drink it as long as it's available. Not only that, but this is recent stuff, meaning the 2004 -- so something this green, that also tastes so fantastic, can only get better with age.

Photo of Vipsanius
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The appearance is mahogany colored with a half inch tan head. The lacing is very ghoulish looking. Great lacing.

The aroma has a very strong granny smith apple smell to it. Also, several other fruits, brown sugar, caramel, malts.

The taste is insane. Extremely complex. Here's a mild description of what it's like: entering your mouth its caramel, chocolate, malts, molasses and then gives way to piney hops, fruits, herbs and then a salted buttery and extremely bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is somewhat warm and this beer absolutely kicks your palate's ass. I'm talking about like this is a severely pissed off Andre the Giant in his prime with full body armor and armed with bazookas -this beer- versus Dustin Diamond (Schreech from Saved by the Bell) armed with a spork and a spatula -your palate-...not even close and I love that.

This beer is very odd. The first time I tried it, I thought it was absolutely horrible...nearly gave away my other 5 bombers. Fortunately, I gave it another shot and thought it was absolutely great...but didn't review it then. This is the third time I've had it. Honestly, it's between the first two. This time and the first time I had basically nothing to eat and a very clean palate. Both times it was pretty damn hard to drink...basically the equivalent of drinking straight cheap-ass liquor. The second time was after a big dinner and much much easier to drink. I've based my scores based on that experience and will make sure to drink this after meals from now on.

Photo of Naerhu
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Beautiful transparent golden red body with a infintesimal white head.
Aroma: Big sticky malt aroma with loads of spicyness and sap. Is this a restina?
Taste: Huge bitterness overpowers the initial pine-hop, then sweet maltiness. The bitterness grinds on for a long, long time. Way to much alcohol flavor jumping out.
Mouthfeel: Thick, fine bubbles and little hot on the alcohol. This beer is simply too thick, and too hot for me to want to have on anywhere near a regular basis.

Photo of GolgiIPAratus
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle

Sampled 3.18.05

What great bottles this brewery has. Demons with wings, insulting bravado. Gotta love a beer bottle that flat out disses the Big Three. I poured this with fervor since the beer itself was taunting me. A gingerly pour seemed weak and useless. I needed to assert myself from the get go. My delicate snifter was able to handle it, but only after some words of encouragement.

The dark honey liquid sat with a foam crown. Brew was fairly solid and cloudy. Lacing descended slowly as if to try to maintain a foothold upon my glass. A last stand at dominance. Alas, my appetite for the fermented achieved victory.

The aroma was pungent molasses. Thick and aggravated. Malts of all sorts jumping to freedom upon the air above their foam horizon. Hints of alcohol tickled on the retreat of the failed escapees.

In the mouth a robust caramel bath of sweetness submerged the tongue. Bitterness fought its way through the front lines only to be swallowed, splattering the battlefield with dewy hop resins, oily and abundant. The alcohol was a furnace. Mouthfeel had a mid level carbonation. The beer was thick and chewy; heavy, but not too heavy. It's a delicate balancing act that makes me raise an eyebrow at its self-inflated machismo.

This beer is made to enjoy. And enjoy I did. Slowly though. It's full heavy flavor keeps one at a nice pace to get great, lasting enjoyment out of one bottle.

Photo of ggroller
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. silk screened bomber. I'd like to add my own text underneath the gargoyle to read "shut up, sit down, and drink."

Pours a dark amber with a nice white head. Great retention and nice sticky lacing. Smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, and chocolate.

Whoa. Sweet Jesus. The text on the back of the bottle doesn't lie. This is one muther effer of beer. Dark chocolate, bitter chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Very sweet and chewy. The alchohol is certainly present on the palate and it really warms you up.

Delicious and drinkable but I could only handle one.

Photo of jdhilt
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one-finger cream head that goes quickly and leaves no lace. Clear, red/amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is malts, raisin and alcohol, starts with a distinct alcohol flavor some sweetness, finishes sweet & sour. 22oz bottle for $5.95 from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Photo of Ahhdball
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is probably one of the best Barley Wine's I've ever had.
Nice beige crown topped the deep red beer.
Toasted malts and sweet fruits create a vacuum in the olfactory senses. Big words, big beer :)
Damn. Great taste. Raison's plums, and a bit of chocolate. More hops than most Barley Wines but Stone did an excellent job of mixing the fruit taste and hop background.
Slick and oily be sure to take heed of this Bastard. RTFL! High alcohol and fantastic taste make this an abusive combo.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Release.
I've been longing to try this much revered brew and I figured my 200th review would be a great time to do so. A deep caramel red pour that nears opaque with a big fluffy, creamy two finger khaki head sitting nicely atop the brew. A circular ring of lacing appears as the head falls. Pine bough resin and citric hops waft up into my nose alongside a rich, candy sweet caramel toffee nose. Big and inviting.

First sip brings an elegant mix of big, bracing fresh pine tree and citric hop flavors along with a lush, caramelly toffee sweet maltiness. Quite well balanced with a nearly mouth puckering bitterness on the way down. Hints of dark fruits and raisins lurk in the mix as well. A damn good barleywine...10% abv is nowhere to be found in the taste. Wow.

Big, creamy buttery smooth mouthfeel with spot on carbonation. Simply a treat to drink. Each sip leaves me longing for another. This will be one I will look forward to each year. Glad I have another bottle in the cellar. Highly recommended and yet another winner from Stone!

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Think Arrogant Bastard or Stone IPA but with even more attitude (and more alcohol). Strong hops presence, strong dark fruit flavor presence, all in relative well balance. Definately aggressive but surprisingly sophisticated. I think this qualifies more like a stronger than strong dark ale as opposed to a barley wine.
Not for everyone but well made. Like Arrogant Bastard, you probably know someone that will fall in love with the creation.

Photo of droomyster
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour a clear deep brownish red. 2 finger tan head receds after a few minutes, leaving lace high on the glass. Barleywine smell of carmelly malts. Instant blast of bitter hops; I keep waiting for it to go away but it doesn't. Thick rich malts of heavy nutinness and maple syrup. Spruce hops with an underlying orange peel citrus. Creamy and very heavy. An amazing drinking experience. A volatile solution: my friends can smell this thing from five feet away.

Photo of Kookiekwan
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours amber-brown has a one finger head with good retention and some nice lacing. The aroma is of caramel, sweet malt, and alcohol. The taste is malty, smokey, and bitter and it leaves a sweet molasses-like taste with the finish. This beer is a little harsh as it warms the mouth and throat on the way down but it's also what makes it memorable.

Reflection: I really like this company, they pull no punches with their beers and their able to make some interesting ones like this.

Photo of Buildscharacter
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance I thought this beer was going to be darker. It's about the color of maple syrup and looks pretty good. The head was tall at first but has come down. It stays in a nice 1/2 cm frothy top. The beer itself doesn't have much of a smell. As with all of Stone's beers this one has that familiar hop characteristic that reminds me of their Barleywine. There is a syrupy sweet taste with hints of maple, burnt wood, sugar, fruit, apple . There is a distinct sweetness to this beer that makes it very attractive. It's light in your mouth, but still feels heavy to the tounge if that makes any sense. It's not hard to drink, especially if you've had a beer or two before it. Good hop flavor.

Photo of bnuttz
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003. Pours a very dark ruby crimson color, cloudy, with a smallish tan head. Smells of sweet caramel malts, fruits like pineapple, and slight hoppiness. An alcohol presence is also there. This definitely tastes like the big brother of arrogant bastard. Taste is spicy alcohol and sweet, thick, heavy caramel. A piney hop bitterness shows itself toward the end. Very thick in the mouth, the alcohol presence prevents this one from being very drinkable. Not a bad barey wine, but not one of my favorites. I didnt detect the hoppiness that I expected from this beer, but not necessarily a bad thing. Would love to try these stone beers fresh.

Photo of lou91
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'02 in '05. I remember tasting this in '02 and thinking it was way too young and I still have that impression. There is no doubt on the beauty of its dark color and nose of bubblegum, rum and malt. The taste remains a bit too hot with alcohol dominating the beautiful rich body and silky, resiny hops. Warming does not help which may mean a year or two may bring it all into balance. This is an intense experience of barley wine madness in the best and worst sense. I love this style but this needs some time for perfection to arrive.

Photo of grapemaster
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When I bought my Double Bastard I did what all good beer drinkers should one for a friend to enjoy it with. He began to drink his first and when I asked him how it was he replies, "It's like a slap in the face". Not a bad slap in the face, but this damn beer is intense. It poured out deep amber with a thick head. I noticed hints of all sorts of sweetness, from different kinda of fruit to chocolate. However, what I noticed most was the fact that this beer has muscle. The hops seemed slightly stronger than the malts, but both were overshadowed by the pure power of the alcohol. Overall a good beer, but like the bottle says, you may not be worthy.

Photo of IrishMike
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So what i have sitting in front of me tonight is the supposed greatest beer of my favorite style. Been waiting awhile to find out where i can get one of these bombers, and i have mntlover to thank for the opprotunity to try it out. An American-Barley wine freak like myself couldn't be more pleased with a chance at this infamous brew; so much so that the entire two days that i was sitting in my room i could hear it calling out my name....

Appearance- Did somebody switch my bottle with Old Horizontal? Pour them right next to each other and i wouldn't be able to tell one apart from another. Dark copper, nice head off white 1" head and a wild lacing that carries huge strings from one side of the glass to the other. Average head retention. Very mild carbonation.

Smell- Yikes, this one SMELLS intimidating! Floral hops and fusel alcohol strike first, completely dissallowing anything else to enter their territory. I spent a good minute taking sniffs and trying to figure out what was hiding underneath them. Rum, grapefruit, and a prickily spiciness to it. Nostrils completely cleared up after spending time smelling this one. Ah, my feel sinuses are nice and clean.

Taste- Thankfully, the taste doesn't make quite as bold a statement as the nose of this bombshell. Hops mix with sweet malts first, both backing away at essentially the same time for pleasent after taste that is smooth and spicy. Caramel soaked grapefruit, or is that grapefruit infused rum?, english cheddar, and a lemon/citric bitterness (possibly somehow related to Lemon Warheads candy) take you through and interesting journey of flavors. Oddly enough, none of these seem to be too strong nor too bitter to take away from it at all. Some raisins and figs perhaps? Caramel? Some alcohol to boot? Sure, why not. There's always more than enough going on here.

Mouthfeel- Just about where i want it to be; full bodied, rich and strong with a pleasant after-taste. Low amount of carbonation, but that seems to be the norm for the style at hand here.

Drinkability- I have basically destroyed this bomber in little over an hour, and despite feeling the alcohol-related effects of it, i can't see myself stopping before the show is completed. Alcohol is always present, but in a weird twist, only seems to add to the complexity to the brew. It's bizzarre balance is what ultimately leads to it's drinkability.

After what was set out as a goal to find which was my favorite A.B.W. (this versus the Bigfoot and the Old Ho) i came to a slightly depressing conclusion that it's a three-way draw. Each offers their own particular take on the style, and all three succeed at the same level. But considering i loved the other two brews, i can't at all be dissapointed that i find this one to be at equal level. Maybe not the most hoppy (Bigfoot), or the most malty (Old Horizontal), but possibly the most complex and balanced. I can see why this one rates as highly as it does. One of those fine brews that lives up to the hype.

Double Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 6,300 ratings.