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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

651 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 651
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 8
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Kölsch |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: babaracas on 04-18-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A black rye Kölsch-style ale, brewed by Stone Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankemeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 651 | Reviews: 118
Photo of Gear54
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber into a snifter.

Pour is black with 1 finger if kaki head that fades fast and light lace around the glass.

Smell is biscuit malts and sweetness. Rye in the background makes it unique.

Taste is light hops and malts finished with light coffee and chocolate. All flavors are light and airy.

Feel is smooth an refreshing. Very Kolsh like. Creamy with light carbonation. Nice feel.

Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

-nice brown head that could have stayed longer but still good
- a mellow roasted grain slight bitter
- slight possible coffee but mild dryness with a smooth roasted head
- creamy smooth body
- great beer a dark flavorful beer almost Russian imperial but easy ale smoothness

Photo of Jadjunk
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"Out of 19 amazing beers brewed by 19 teams of the best brewers at Stone Brewing Co., Steve Wagner (Co-founder & President), Greg Koch (Co-founder & CEO), and Mitch Steele (Brewmaster) chose this one after a blind tasting of the top nine beers. As we write this, we are honored and humbled by the decision to select our beer for the very first Stone Brewing Co. Spotlight Series release." Brewed in the hybrid style of a Dark Kolsch with rye added. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited release draft. Entry #1 in the Spotlight Series.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a solid foamy head of a toasted mocha complexion over a nearly jet black body. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Aromas of biscuity german, pale and cracker malts with a moderate sweetness come close to expectations for the style. Undertones of delicate roast, cocoa nibs and subtle toasted rye and toffee malts are the exception that provide for the black-as-night color, although these are softly implemented in the aroma, they are more direct as the beer warms, and the aroma creeps towards Schwartzbier with its accessible, yet substantial dark beer aromatics. There is a soft earthy and moderately fruity hop profile with a light bitterness. Beer smells clean and moderately sweet over bitter, potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) The flavor starts off mildly Kolsch-like, with prevalent pale and cracker malts and a light grassy hop profile and a light grape acidity before exposing darker flavors, finishing with a delicate note of medium roast, coffee and a pinch of chocolate, lightly bodied yet prevalent. Moderate roasted flavors with a high accessibility, slightly sweet overall but not cloyingly so. Light and very clean but flavorful. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slightly creamy, lightly chewy, clean and lightly acidic tart, finishing with a soft dryness. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium/heavy for the style, medium overall. Balance is moderately sweet over bitter and tart. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A very interesting hybrid style that may be confused as a Schwarzbier if not for the soft acidity of the Kolsch style as well as the tanginess of the rye malts, which offer a decent balance for the soft yet sweet malt profile. Dark malt flavors are ever present without becoming overbearing. It's a very pleasing beer and one worth trying. Looking forward to lower gravity options by Stone in the near future and other beers under the Spotlight Series label. 3.75

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Sprocket Bier
3.74/5.00

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, no visible packaging date.

The beer is a very dark brown that verges on opaque, with a generous light tan head. So, this is a kolsch, but is breaking the mold. It looks nice.

Rye, dark bready, and slightly smoky. A little chocolate. This smells like porter, nothing else. A good porter.

It tastes much like a porter as well. There is a little rye snap, a dry pumpernickel flavor, that tangy yeastiness. Chocolate powder and tart.

Light body, medium carbonation, provably the place where it comes nearest it's kolsch roots.

I like it a lot. There is a good amount of smokiness that I didn't expect. It's a hard beer to rate because it's outside it's style so much.

Photo of Sathanas
4.59/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Not a fan of Kolsch's for the most part. The dark roasts and rye contrasting the barnyard light kolsch tastes really make the Sprocketbier shine.

Photo of PostRockandCats
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pours an unusual, but intriguing dark brown with a finger tan head that sticks around. Certainly not typical of the style, but I scored them high as

S: mild. Malty and fruity with dark fruits and caramel notes.

T: Fruity and chocolaty with lots of chocolate and caramel malt notes. A bit smokey-dry at the end. Not very heavy, but still nice.

M: Medium with moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This is not at all what I expected when I saw "Kölch" on the label at first. It's more indicative of a stout than a traditional pale of the name, but I have no complaints. Delicious, drinkable and sessionable. Another solid from Stone!

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tulip glass from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance: Thin black color with a dark brown tint to it. Heavy bubbles in the body with a tan head rising to maybe 1/3".

Smell: Bland scent, hops and light malt.

Taste: I really like it. Definitely not an acquired taste...you really tend to like it right away. It's lightly bitter with a dark chocolate feel minus any type of sweetness.

Mouth: light sticky, with a bitter sour after-taste.

Overall: Not a bad brew but could use a bit of tweaking, maybe it's because I haven't had a lot of experience with Kolsch beers. Worth sharing the bottle with friend, salad!

Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass. Pitch black brew with a velvety root beer colored head, fluffy, creamy, and resilient.

Aroma recalls cacao power, pumpernickel bread, and musty root cellar with a subtle fruitiness that recalls citrus soda bottle caps. Very reminiscent of a schwarzbier with added fruity esters a la the kolsch style. Loving the aroma although others may deem it unassuming and mellow.

The palate again recalls a schwarzbier/ale hybrid with rather a lot going on if one cares to plumb the depths. The dry chocolate and earthy root flavors from the nose are initially present in abundance along with subtle cherry and lemon-lime notes. Mid-way though a licorice candy and molasses element shows up and later one notices a sweet hazelnut and milk chocolate vibe that assumes the helm as the initial dry bitter elements recede. Pumpernickel and leafy greens linger throughout. A toffee-like sweetness lurks way in the background if one cares to look. Rye spice gathers steam over the course of multiple sips. A slight red berry waif peeks though.

As to mouthfeel, this is obviously heavier than your average kolsch but still retains considerable drinkability. Once more the schwarzbier comparisons are in order. Moderate to high carbonation with some welcome hop resin prickliness. Faint wood char in the dry bread-like finish. Obviously this beer is supposed to be bastardized, cutting across multiple style domains. Faulting it for not tasting like a classic kolsch seems pedantic and persnickety. In my view this is a more than worthwhile exercise in tasting gymnastics.

Photo of Ohniel
4.75/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Would have been a lot better if it had more alc/vol. at least 9%

Photo of Barnoloid
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As dark as pumpernickel bread with a similar rye aroma. The smokiness and rye notes dominate up front here. This is an interesting beer, has a mealy mouthfeel. Almost like drinking a reuben sandwich. Enjoyable but would likely not seek out again unless pairing with food.

Photo of AlaskanYoung
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer was ok. Not the best

Photo of fscottkey
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: [3.75] Pours jet black. Looks viscous and oily. The head is only 1/2 finger but is a nice mocha color. The bottle lists the ABV at 5.4% and it had a date - it is on the neck but it was written in some easily smudgable ink - so it is useless.

S: [3.50] Poured cold the nose is a bit stingy. I am getting hints of coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. But just barely.

T: [4.00] While cold the beer tastes like coffee and bitter chocolate. It is really a nice flavor. I am also picking up roasted malts. As it warmed up it shifted to a more malty overall flavor.

M: [4.25] Nice mouthfeel. Decent carbonation but still creamy.

O: [3.75] By look, smell, taste and mouthfeel I'd call this a stout. The label says otherwise. Either way it is really tasty. A lot of flavor packed into 5.4% ABV. A well made and well executed beer. I would like to have it again.

Photo of Stevedore
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone World Bistro in Escondido, CA. Served in a stemmed glass 12/14/14.

A- Dark brown body, in most lighting this appears black, like a stout. Big fluffy one finger white head with fair retention time, average longevity and average lacing.

S- Rich roasted malt aromas, a bit of citrus and lemon zest, a bit of sharp spiciness and even a bit of smoke. Nice complexity to the nose here. Smells great.

F- Just like in the nose, there is a nice complexity and an unique combination of flavours that works quite well here. Rye spiciness, roasted malt, milk chocolate, cocoa, espresso and citrus, lemon flavours. A bit of bitter citrus on the back-end as well, but this is not a particularly bitter beer by any means. Not as much smoke here as in the nose.

M- Not watery thin, but not substantially thick either. Rich cocoa and roasted malt bitterness on the finish. Nice rich mouthfeel that is bigger than the beer itself is. Very drinkable.

O- I could drink this all day. Rich flavours and 5.4% ABV, nice rich mouthfeel and very drinkable beer. This one is underrated in my opinion and would buy if I saw this in my distribution.

Final score: 4.13

Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a clear mug.

Appearance: extremely dark brown with a fair bit of haze to the body and a thick finger of frtohy tan foam. Completely nontraditional for the style, but a good looking beer.

Smell: lightly roasty and sweet with just a hint of lagery yeastiness. Reminds me a lot more of a schwarzbier than a Kölsch, but still a nice aroma.

Taste: a little smoky at first, which I like, with a roasty middle and a slightly caramel finish. Whatever the style, it's damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: whatever this style is supposed to be, that hint of smoke puts me firmly onboard. I dig it.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%

- black rye kolsch style.

(3.80) A: Coffee exit from the bottle with a thin, but amazingly sturdy, dark corkboard colored head that had a firm cream consistency. Slow, steady streams of effervesce rise in methodical fasion as it creeps up along the vessel walls.

(3.65) S: Aroma was softy but fresh, smoothering charred wood with wet, dark roast coffee grounds and a added hint of dry pine brush. Perfumy delivery.

(3.80) T: Flavor was freshly charred wood and dark roast, earthy bitterness with a wet campfire minerality. Mid-palate showed some charred citrus hop flower, dough, and light hints of apple-plum yeast factors. A big mention of sweet burnt caramel and finish of peppery spicing with sweet burnt currant-fruitiness.

(3.80) M: Oily roast mouthful, medium body, slick, dry, decent carbonation.

(3.80) O: provides a deep dark roastiness in a 5.4% packaging which many may overlook or have trouble believing. Roasted coffee and yeasty fruitiness that drinks much bigger then expected. Nice blending. Don't expect a true Kolsch style here, with more and more breweries blurring the lines its hard to hold one accountable when it doesn't fit snuggly into one clearly defined parameter, when it clearly was never intended to be in the first place. outside the box.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with dry bitter notes with some citrus hoppy notes also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by dry bitter roasted malt notes with some light spicy rye notes with some hoppy citrus notes. Body is a bit light with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad but not great either and not sure I could have said this was a Kolsch had it not been mentioned on the label.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Poured into a snifter.

3.75 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is good and plenty of spotty lacing is left.

4.0 S: This smells great! The kolsch is certainly there with a sweet grassiness and mineral earthiness. In addition there's a moderate roastiness, cocoa powder, and caramel sweetness.

4.25 T: Tastes like it smells. The grassy hay sweet maltiness works wonders with the roastiness.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Supremely smooth.

4.5 D: This shouldn't work, but it does. I hope this sticks around.

Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Black rye Kolsch." Okay...reviewed as a Kolsch. Expectations are low given the description and brewery.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with appealing label design (Stone's marketing is fantastic, as always) and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at an H-E-B in Austin, TX, and served cold into a Cantillon gueuze glass (it's the closest glassware to a stange I have).

5.4% ABV per the label. Bottled 03/28/14. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2.5 fingers wide. Completely wrong for the style, but outside style conventions it's quite appealing: the creamy full rich tan colour head boasts a smooth, even consistency and a shiny soft complexion. Looks supple. Retention is excellent - ~10+ minutes. Light inconsistent lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Awful for the style. It's more of a schwarzbier appearance - a weak cola-black colour which is dull rather than shiny and sleek. Couldn't be less traditional.

Overall, I like the head but not the body. This is terrible for a kolsch, but when you consider they're pushing conventions it's not bad. Unique for a kolsch in all the wrong ways.

AROMA: Dry rye, rye bread, and a trace of rye's signature subtle spice. Bland schwarz malts. Pumpernickel. Faint herbal notes - maybe a hint of evergreen? Bland muted coffee. A muted hint of burnt malt. Maybe a kiss of caramel? I'm stretching here because the aroma is quite light and insipid, evoking little unless you really search.

Seems like an above average schwarzbier aroma. It's awful if you're judging it by kolsch standards - it doesn't seem refreshing or light at all. I detect no hop character - which is a surprising (but welcome) absence given the brewery responsible. Style conventions aside, the faint coffee is nice. Maybe there's a dab of cream in there too? Maybe even marshmallow? Or maybe the aroma is so tame, light, and bland that it's a blank slate upon which I can project my hopes.

No overt alcohol or off-notes are detectable. I'd call the aroma innocuous.

TASTE: Hm. I actually do find some kolsch character in there - the crisp helles malt backbone, the effortless drinkability, the minimal hop character - and much to my shock, the "dark" elements are well-integrated with notable subtlety. That said, it still comes off muted and tame. It's quite a reticent flavour profile for the style. I do like the extreme subtlety of the caramel, burnt schwarz malts, coffee, cream, and hazelnut. But must it be so unevocative and neutral? Traditional Kolschbiere could be called plain, but they're forward and open; this flavour profile feels closed-off and noncommital to its constituent notes.

Still, the balance is surprising; I'm having trouble believing Stone (at least Stone's main brewers) brewed this. Ah - then I check the label and realize that (like almost all Stone beers I actually like) - they didn't brew this, at least not alone. It was a homebrewer's recipe; no wonder. Maybe they should replace the regular brewmasters with the two cats responsible for this.

In any case, it's a nice unique take on a Kolsch, and while I do find it muted and a bit bland, I'm impressed by how well it brings dark ingredients into a traditionally light beer style without any obvious conflict. Could this homebrewer make a black IPA, please?

Depth of flavour couldn't be more shallow. Brief flavour duration. Light flavour intensity.

It's a cohesive well put together beer, but doesn't quite feel like a gestalt whole.

TEXTURE: Slightly creamy, which plays well against the slight dryness and coarseness brought about by the burnt character. It's refreshing in spite of an early second act drag on the palate. Aptly soft. Light to medium-bodied, with apt thickness. Has a fuller heavier presence on the palate than a Kolsch should, but I suppose it's forgivable.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh. I do find it a bit rough and scratchy, which does hold the drinkability back.

Overall presence on the palate is decent. This texture does a fine job at complementing the taste, but doesn't elevate the beer.

OVERALL: A unique schwarzbier-esque approach to a Kolsch. While it's not a success per se, it's far better executed than I would have guessed (especially given Stone's involvement). I'd like to see the homebrewer(s) behind this branch out and put out their own brews. Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from world-class. Worth trying if you're curious, but don't expect a good Kolsch. Just a nice hybridized experimental beer that drinks easy while delivering the dark flavours of bigger brews. I tip my hat to the brewer responsible; nice effort. I'll polish off the bomber with ease.

B-

Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

A: Did not expect this at all. Black as night! Medium, bubbly tan head. Very cool.

S: Smoke and malt. That's really all I can seem to get.

T: Okay so at first this was OKAY. Then as it warmed it was pretty good. Smoke, light wood, some tartness, sweet corn, grain, yeast, and hops. Very interesting - almost like a light porter or something.

M: Light side of medium. Carbonation is definitely there.

O: Cool beer. Very creative style and nice flavor!

Photo of mjsargent
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Feeling adventurous. Thought I try it. The best way I could describe, it smells like a Porter but drinks like the lightest Porter you ever had.

Photo of barczar
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%

Certainly the darkest kolsch I've seen... Aroma is dominated by roast malt, coffee grounds, dark chocolate, and nutty, deeply roasted notes. Flavor reveals a base of kolsch yeast fruitiness, which becomes roasty mid palate, turning nutty and fairly bitter at the smoky finish. More bitter than I prefer, but the kolsch yeast does shine.

Photo of finz2thestout
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

dark dark, hoppyish coffee. swoon.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%

Sorry, but there is no such thing as a black rye kolsch; it's a rye beer, get over it. But being a project of two homebrewers and with the help of Stone, this unusual concoction may taste good. From a 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Polished obisidian colored and topped with an inch of slightly tanned head. This is definately not a kolsch, but it is pretty to look at. Its aroma is modest and mood elevating; bits of chocoolate malt notes highlight the tip of a mild grassy base and modest hoppiness.

Does it taste like a kolsch? No, no, no, no. I would have said dry stout if I had tasted this blind, but it would still be closer to a black rye ale than a kolsch. It does in fact have a pleasant flavor, so let's not discount that. Bits of dark chocolate works with a gentle spiciness and dryness from the rye. Gentle waves of grass hit the palate and refresh without being boring. As a pleasant surprise, the beer has a creamy light/medium feel that is easy to drink (especially during this late summer 90F heat!).

It's a good homebrew recipe that Stone has done justice to. But I would like to see more justice with the kolsch style, because being dark and not from Cologne are two strikes.

Photo of Atlas1
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

First time using the weird new rating system. Seems a bit more subjective and open to random reviews, but whatever. Change is the only constant...

First of all, I like the bottle design. Pours a deep dark brown with reddish-orange hues at the edges when held up to light. The nose is musty, malty, earthy and herbal. Nice enough, but nothing fancy. The taste is sweet and tangy up front and notes of dark cherry. Dry finish.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the dark rye kolsch style of beers, if such a thing exists outside of this one, but it's not a bad outing. While it's not overly impressive, it's tasty enough. And while it's not exactly a summer refresher, as far kolsches go, it's not bad on a hot 100-degree summer Texas day if you're hankering for a dark beer. You could do worse. The rye suggests it would be better to imbibe in the summer or fall, but whatever. Good on Stone for trying this one.

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short, light tan head that quickly died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass along with some lacing running down the sides.
S: Light aromas of dark and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, having flavors of roasted malts and bits of spicy rye along with hints of grapes.
M: It feels a bit shy of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink and has a good amount of flavors for a beer of its drinkability. If I didn't see the label of this bottle, I would have thought that this was a porter, not a kölsch, based on both its appearance and taste. The only kölsch-like properties that I detected were the grapey flavors and the lighter body. It is an unique hybrid style.

Serving type: bottle

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 651 ratings.