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Spotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket Bier - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Spotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket BierSpotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket Bier

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

334 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 334
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.03%
Wants: 8
Gots: 16 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: babaracas on 04-18-2014)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Dope:
Photo of Dope
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottling date is obscured, but needless to say that this is pretty fresh and was released recently. Two weeks tops.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a mid-sized and fizzy, effervescent light brown head. Despite the smallish head the retention is top-notch. Lacing is fairly substantial, mid-range I would say.

S: Loads of charry roasted malt mixed with spicy rye. Light milk chocolate.

T: Lots and lots of rye up front. Surprisingly strong on that front. Charry in the middle with light chocolate floating around. Finish is almost all chocolate, a borderline bittersweet chocolate to be specific. Semi-sweet I guess. Sweet grains and lingering rye between sips with just a hint of that chocolate.

M: Light/medium but smooth. Dry and spicy in the aftertaste.

O: Interesting Kolsch. Very tasty. Lots of rye and lots of roasted malt character. Especially impressive given the meager strength of this brew. Complex and well balanced. Drinkable. I enjoy all things rye and all things roasted malt so I'm slightly biased. But this was still tasty and I feel that they achieved exactly what they were going for.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
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 MadScientist
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Tiernan
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of SuomiHobbit
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of jose_alehouseSD
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of sabitu
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Todd
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Britton
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of aquazr1
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of KolbMarley
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger tan head which slowly fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A roasty and bready malt driven aroma with good hints of chocolate and grains. Roasted malts with upfront hints of chocolate, biscuit, grains, caramel, yeast, cracker, and a little coffee and smoke. Hints of spice. Earthy hops with some hints of grass. Subtle dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, and prune. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely roasty and bready malt forward taste with good notes of chocolate and grains. Dark roasted barley malts with upfront notes of chocolate, coffee, grains, biscuit, caramel, lager yeast, cracker, and a little smoke. Dark fruit undertones with some notes of cherry, prune, and raisin. Earthy hops in the background with notes of grass and a little pine spice. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, silky, and pretty smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid twist on the Kolsch style. Good creamy dark malt notes. Its kind of like a porter.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Poured into stange; deep chestnut with a nice mocha head that rises continually and fades shortly.
Smells of dark bread, nutty rye malt, crisp and clean and light with slight hints of dark malt flavors.
Tastes the same; smooth dark soft malt flavors that are crisp and easy to drink.
Mouthfeel is light and clean, smooth.
Overall this is a very interesting beer
The flavors of a schwarzbier with the feel of a kolsch. Neat!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Rye Kolsch style ale, I've never had one of those before I'll try it. Pours pitch black in the glass with a thicket of tan head leaves fine speckled lacing behind. I like the abv and the fact that this was Rick & Robbie's time to shine (two homebrewers from SoCal) who won a homebrewer's contest.

Aroma clean malt driven hard to pick up classic dark beer character more just crisp grains, herbal hops, pretty unique beer. Herbal mint, clean German ale character it's weird!!!

Flavor brings spicy rye, dark roasted malts, still super easy drinking black rye kolsch style characteristics are evident...masterfully brewed and crafted. Almost creamy milk chocolate with less sweetness dry herbal hops again weaved effortlessly to dry it out, into a crisp enjoyable finish.

Mouthfeel smooth creamy textured, crisp finish balanced sturdy carbonation everything hits where it should on the palate. I know this isn't traditional Stone, but it's damn good.

Overall, this let's me know that creativity and brewing culture in America is alive and well, we will never stop innovating because we have no boundaries in our brewing styles this 5.4% Sprocket beer labeled as a black rye kolsch proves it!

Photo of Auraan
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, opaque black with brown highlights on the edges of the glass when held to light. Two and a half fingers of tan head that grew as it sat and left abundant lacing down the glass. A very nice looking beer, similar in appearance to a stout. Scents of rich roast malt, dark chocolate, coffee with a bit of cream, a bit of a pretzel-like aroma, hints of grassy hops, along with spicy rye in the background. As it sits a little bit of fruitiness comes into the foreground as is common in the Kolsch style. A very nice aroma profile that is an interesting combination of a porter, a rye beer and a Kolsch. Flavor begins with a roasted flavor malt profile, with notes of black coffee and rye. This moves into further roasted flavors with notes of burnt toast, black coffee and roast malt and a hint of fruitiness that is very faint. Finish is dry with roast malt, spicy rye, black coffee and a slight tang with some fruitiness faintly detectable. Aftertaste is dry with a strong roast malt presence and hints of black coffee. An interesting flavor profile that tastes very similar to a porter or stout and is quite removed from a Kolsch. It is quite nice and the addition of rye adds a nice spice and nuttiness to the flavor. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with moderate-high carbonation and a smooth, creamy feel. Very nice and extremely easy to drink as a result. Overall this is a pretty interesting beer. It has a nice aroma and flavor that are more reminiscent of a porter than a Kolsch, with the nice spiciness that rye imparts. An extremely drinkable mouthfeel aids the beer and makes it quite the sessionable offering. Very well done and unique to boot.

Photo of JMS1512
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Jgrody
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber, thoughtfully brought back from SoCal for me by doktorzee. Since this entry was added first, and actually used the correct name, I'll happily plant my flag here.

This beer pours a very dark, yet bright red cola highlight-tinged russet brown hue, with three flabby fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and slightly bubbly tan head, which leaves some spectral webbed lace around the glass as things duly sink away.

It smells of roasted bready caramel malt, mildly spicy rye grain, bittersweet powdered chocolate, a bit of dry black orchard fruit, soft earthy yeast, and herbal, leafy, and grassy hops. The taste is big on the gritty cocoa bitterness up front, with some smoked grainy pale and wet biscuity caramel malt, blended rye spice, muted dark fruit - maybe a bit of raisin, maybe a bit of prune - sugar-free root beer, a bland earthy nuttiness, and now turtling herbal, weedy hops.

The carbonation is fairly active in its plebeian frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and mostly smooth, the char stepping on a few toes here, just so y'all know. It finishes quite dry, the grain - including a more subdued than expected rye contingent - and a wee bit of blackened character coming to dominate over the various aforementioned side players.

It's dark, it's German-adjacent, and it tires more quickly than I might have initially thought - yup, that's Sprockets for me, from what I can recall. Calling this a Kolsch is sort of disingenuous at best, as all the light, crisp, and easy-drinking qualities of that style are shit all over by this venture - see American Black Ales for precedence.

Photo of hsus0225
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Ebrill
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of dertyd
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Roguer
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful dark black beer, with a firm dark tan head. Fantastic lacing and retention.

Ryan and malty aroma, with a hint of cherry. Slightly roasted barley, and earthy hops.

Slightly Hoppy American black ale, with a nice soft hint of cherry, and spicy rye.

Very soft mouth feel. Slick, oily, lively with no sting. Refreshing.

This is a surprisingly good beer. However, it comes across much more as a complex American Rye Black Ale; it is not, in any way, a Kölsch. I intended to hit it for that, but the truth is that, name aside, it's a very tasty beer.

Photo of Snow81
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

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Spotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket Bier from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.