Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier

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BA SCORE
85
very good

620 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 620
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 11.17%
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:
A black rye Kölsch-style ale, brewed by Stone Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankemeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler.

(Beer added by: babaracas on 04-18-2014)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 620 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by MattyG85:
Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +12%
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.

More User Reviews:
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-

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4.25/5  rDev +13%

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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

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4/5  rDev +6.4%

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4/5  rDev +6.4%

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3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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4.25/5  rDev +13%

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.06/5  rDev +8%
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 HoppySeb
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +9%
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!

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Auraan
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

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4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

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4/5  rDev +6.4%

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.