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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

121 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 121
Hads: 670
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 25.98%
Wants: 10
Gots: 35 | FT: 0
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 121 | Hads: 670
Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

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.

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Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
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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Photo of VoodooBear
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Presentation: 22 oz. brown bottle, served in a weizen glass.

Appearance: It's pitch black, with a thin, tan colored, half finger head. The lacing is incredible, covering the whole glass and staying there.

Smell: Notes of sweet vanilla, roasted malt, dark chocolate and spices. It's present but subdued.

Taste: A complex smokey and roasted taste assaults the pallate, but it's wrapped up in a spicy rye blanket. Everything is expertly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation, it's smooth and easy to drink, despite what its appearance might suggest.

Overall: A very enjoyable, interesting and unusual beer. The taste and texture of the beer will clash with your preconceptions of what a beer that looks like this one should taste and feel like (in a good way). Definitely worth a try if you can find it.

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Photo of Rootscipio
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark blackish with coppery red highlights. The head is a frothy greyish brown head that quickly diminishes to a slight top coating..
Smell is of bready malt and spicy rye notes.
Taste spicy rye blended with bitter chocolate with a lingering hoppy bitter end note.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall this beer is really well balanced and enjoyable. I liked it allot more than I thought I would. Hopefully they will re release it at some point.

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Photo of GabrielBelm0nt
4.8/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Easily my #2 favorite beer by stone. The black rye is what makes this beer so good for me. The fact that it's a Kölsch makes it a nice easy to drink beer. It's the type of beer i'd have socially and could definitely drink a lot of. Nothing fancy but has all the characteristics that i personally like in a beer when drinking at a social event.

I love the nice toasty notes with hints of chocolate from the black rye. It's not too strong due to the fact that it's a Kölsch style, but it does add hints of spiciness to it. To me it drinks similar to a porter, but a bit more carbonated than a porter. One of my personal favorites.

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Photo of MaddestHatter
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It is really hard to characterize this beer in any way other than "good." It is an incredibly interesting mix of the dark roast maltiness of something like a stout (or more accurately a Schwarzbier since it's a lager) with the slight hop bite of a Kölsch and the mild spiciness from the rye. These characteristics altogether render a very complex and strongly flavorful, yet incredibly drinkable beer that I could easily down pints of in a pub all day, or at least at lunchtime with a ploughman's or sandwich.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of AnotherBeerGeek
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tried this for the first time during a recent tour of Stone Brewing, so when I saw a bomber today at my local beer shop, I decided to investigate a bit further.

A: Deep dark brown, almost totally opaque, with a lovely creamy tan foam. Looks like a typical porter.

S: Nose is toasted malt, a hint of chocolate and some faint notes of citrus hops.

T: Hard to believe this is a Kolsch. The rye comes through, but the level of roast is again reminiscent more of a porter, especially along the sides of the tongue -- a touch of bitter malty bite. More generally a mostly malt-based bitter that hangs around on the finish, with some balancing hop notes that are more of an undertone.

M: Very nice full body and creamy texture.

O: I like it. It seems a little schizo as far as its style identity, but its an example of pushing the creative envelope, and the guys at Stone definitely make it work.

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Photo of DIM
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This had an all but black body and it poured with a large cocoa colored head.

Aroma is dominated by roasty malts with hints of breadiness and minerals. Lots of roast on the palate with some spicy rye and little smoky char at the finish. Would not have called this a kolsch tasted blind, but this was damn good.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: its a real thick molasses dark brown/black color with a real pretty 3 finger tan head. the beer looks like it has volume

s: it has that sweet kolsch smell - caramel, wheat, definitely some smooth rye. on the back end of the aroma there is some molasses and brown sugar, but its light. a hint of cocoa powder as well

t: its a combination of roasted caramel, and sweet lemongrass caramel. oaky chalky chocolate then leads into the rye - it does remind me of biting into a piece of rye bread - there are definitely big bready notes in here. there is some slight bitterness from the roasted malts. something about it is light and refreshing though

m: lighter side of medium. would like to see this a bit more carbonated i think, but i think some of the rye spice flattens it out. slightly syrup-like

o: it reminds me of a black IPA without the bitter hops. its a mixture of sweet caramel, sweet citrus, roasted malts, and some dark sugars. it is a real nice blend that has a dark sugars and refreshing grains. definitely worth a pickup

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Photo of arizcards
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from BevMo in late April for $7.49. Bottled on 4/1/14 (sic - print was smudged).

Beer poured black with a decent brown head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is roasty and smoked malts.

Taste is roasted malts, with a hint of smoke. Rye comes forth in the second level but in the end the roasted malts dominate.

Mouthfeel is thicker than normal for the style yet there is a liveliness on the palate.

Overall this is an interesting brew, totally unique, but very tasty. Glad i had an opportunity to try this!

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Photo of Auraan
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
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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Photo of schoolboy
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really nice variation of beer. It's extremely well balanced and thoroughly drinkable. I had a feeling when I bought that it would not last a hour from when I got home from the store. I poured the whole bomber in a big cut glass stein, and I and sure I will have it finished in a few minutes.

It pours a deep, nearly opaque black/brown with nice head and loads of lacing. The aroma is sweet malty with some roasty smell and less finishing hops than I would like (but I am not complaining).

The taste is a wonderful mix of a slightly bitey kolsch, plus roast malts (the rye, I assume). There is not an overabundance of hoppy taste, just the right amount. In fact, this is one of the best balanced brews I have had in a while - a great achievement in making interesting beer that is still drinkable and refreshing. I think it would be great to suck down TWO bombers of this, but I won't be doing that.

The aftertaste is a nice lingering goodness. I highly recommend this great beer - get it while you can!

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Photo of brureview
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first poured in a snifter, and later an English pub glass which is a better choice and brings out the aroma.

Best tasted at 45-50F (7-10C°).

Excellent dark opaque color with a 2F head which resolves itself. Some lacing.

Aroma: coffee, dark roasted malt and licorice.

Mouth feel: creamy, dark malt.

The taste is predominantly dark roasted malt with light fruit. The beer tastes similar to a porter, but it finishes smoother and with more depth.

Overall easy to drink, and unusual for a Stone brew. Serving temp and glass choice are very important.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into tulip. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a very deep dark chocolate brown, near black, with a large, thick, and soft looking light brown head that faded to a faint collar leaving spotty lace down the glass.
S: Notes of coffee, spicy rye, and smoke dominate. Cigarette smoke, char, and slight weed smoke come through as well. There are peppery, almost chipotle-like notes too.
T: The base kolsh shines through and reminds me this isn't a porter or stout. Smoke is milder, but the spicy rye is nice and tingly. The finish is sweet and woody, and I almost get a fruity hint of berries. The aftertaste is tingly, earthy, and spicy with rye. Light kolsh yeast still present, raisin aftertaste. Coco is mild.
M: Soft tingly carbonation, medium body, sweet and smooth mouthfeel. Tingly rye adds a nice kick.
O: Better than expected. Great rye flavor mixed with light German lager. Pretty unique, and definitely delicious.

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Photo of maximum12
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Rye Kolsch? On this like Jason Bourne on a Russian mall security guard. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is matte black with a low, persistent smear of head. Nose is a lot of roast & some piney, citrusy hops, a lot like a black IPA.

Sprocketbier Black Rye Kolsch tastes as A.D.D. as it sounds. Despite not showing in the aroma, rye is dominant, if only by a nose. Nice spicy kick in the back of the tongue is set off by a rousing round of roast, an odd but agreeable combination. Herbal tea hops sound off in the depths someplace, light but present. No hint of the kolsching. Light for a beer of its color scheme, & wicked easy to drink.

Overall this just about works really well. Strong points are the nice rye kick & the drinkability, & I would never hesitate to have another; not only that, I think breweries should abandon the mostly failed "Black IPA" & go after the "Black Rye" category. I see potential. Good beer.

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Photo of scratch69
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I poured a bottle into a mug.

Appearance- Almost black color with dark brown highlights. Two fingers worth of thick, tan head which lingers for quite a while. Loads of clingy lacing.

Smell- A mellow roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

Taste- Just like the nose with some notes of bread, smoke, and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

Overall- A delicious and very enjoyable beer. It reminded me at times of a porter or a black lager. I will be buying this again (if there is any left.)

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Photo of bismarksays
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Not sure why they bothered calling this a kolsch...or a rye. It tastes a lot like Matt's Burning Rosids. Meaty,smoky, and perhaps a hint of figgy chocolate. No rye flavors and lacks the refreshing qualities of a kolsch.
stone, you do not have to release every beer that every employee thinks of. Your special beers are starting to stop being special.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass; worn off bottle date, but bottled in 4/2014. Pours crystal clear nearly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, toast, dark bread, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, spicy rye, light char, herbal, light fruitiness, light grass, and roast/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hop, and light-moderate kolsch yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, coffee, roasted malt, spicy rye, light char, light fruitiness, herbal, grass, and roast/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, coffee, roasted malt, spicy rye, light char, light fruitiness, grass, and roast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice robustness and complexity of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; with a great roasted malt bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice experimental Kolsch style beer. All around good balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering; it tastes a lot like a robust porter.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
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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Photo of Gavage
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a 2" head that falls quickly. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: light earthy and pine aroma comes through to the nose.

Taste: light roasted tones with grass, earthiness, grapefruit, pine, and a bit of pumpernickel bread. Bitterness is moderate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp at the finish. Long aftertaste.

Overall: a good beer that is light but has some meatier flavors. Interesting.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled on x/25/2014
aggressive pour into a nonic

A - black beer with a big creamy head that fades to a lacy finger height of lingering head
S - coffee, chocolate, rye
T - just like the smell, no surprises here
M - medium body and slightly creamy like a watery stout
O - it tastes good but what the hell is it? Not a Kolsch. I'd drink it again but cannot think of it as a Kolsch.

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Photo of avalon07
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a cylinder glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch and a half, foamy, fairly long-lasting, tan-colored head. Good lacing. Needless to say, this doesn't look like your typical kolsch.

S: A slightly different (and subdued) aroma of chocolate, malt, a little caramel, and light hops.

T: Like the aroma, the taste had a good deal of chocolate, a little bit of hops, rye, some caramel, and malt. The flavor wasn't like any kolsch I've tried before. This wasn't a bad thing, but it was a little thin and watery for my taste.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a somewhat thin finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is definitely an experiment of a beer. It has its good points, but doesn't come off altogether.

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.