1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
very good

320 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 320
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 7
Gots: 13 | FT: 2
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Spotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket Bier Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 320 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rphx88
3.25/5  rDev -14%

rphx88, Wednesday at 05:46 AM
Photo of Mlawrence
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Mlawrence, Sunday at 02:57 PM
Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
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.


kojevergas, Oct 17, 2014
Photo of Kahlstrom
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Kahlstrom, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of MisledTitan
4.5/5  rDev +19%

MisledTitan, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of willjschmidt
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

willjschmidt, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

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!

titty_mcbitty, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of Stoutlad
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Stoutlad, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of Snow81
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Snow81, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of Ebrill
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Ebrill, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of barczar
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%

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.

barczar, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of finz2thestout
4.5/5  rDev +19%

dark dark, hoppyish coffee. swoon.

finz2thestout, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of Patches826
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Patches826, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of hsus0225
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

hsus0225, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -20.6%

smartassboiler, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of diablo14
4/5  rDev +5.8%

diablo14, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

DoubleJ, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of jaredkc889
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

jaredkc889, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of Carl_R
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Carl_R, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of givemeastout
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%

givemeastout, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +5.8%

oriolesfan4, Sep 04, 2014
Photo of Ewhite2121
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Ewhite2121, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of jose_alehouseSD
4/5  rDev +5.8%

jose_alehouseSD, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of Danny1217
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Danny1217, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of cbnz
3.25/5  rDev -14%

cbnz, Aug 20, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Spotlight Series: Rick And Robbie's Sprocket Bier from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.