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!

Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sublimely Self-Righteous AleSublimely Self-Righteous Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,506 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,506
Reviews: 1,849
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 233
Gots: 531 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 09-02-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,506 | Reviews: 1,849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of longbongsilver
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A branch out deuce-deuce pick after the arrogant one, first thing I notice immediately on open is a very distinct spicy funk (yes, I would call it a funk) from the dark malt/hop strength combo. It "stinks", but in a good way. Smell opens up to sharp citrus suggesting blood orange, plus caramel, & a bit of booze in the back.

Oh, yeah, the pour, forgot...Straight up black, even in the light, with a tan frothy head. Kinda looks like I poured a rootbeer.

Taste throws a bit of a curveball, as somehow coffee and butterscotch get invited to the party, and the booze on the nose vanishes in the drink. Goes down kinda milky in terms of pure feel, far as I can tell.

I can count the black ales I've had on one hand, and one of those was my own homebrew (from before I realized the style existed already). SSR is the first I've had that distinguished itself by what it wasn't: it's not just fistfulls of IPA style hops + roasted malts. There's actually a 3rd character element here, as if it's a step in the style's evolution. Me likes...

longbongsilver, May 07, 2011
Photo of diegoangeles
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got this one on a day-to-day scenario, with my family at the burger restaurant.

A- At first I got fully pleased by it's almost pitch black color, barely noticed a hint of light coming through, it pured gracefully on the glass and had an awesome tan head that lasted perfectly before dissipating.

S- It had a bold citric, piney and roasted smell, with some chocolate and toast on it.
Quite a punch in the good way!

T- It's the citrus and pine the ones to take the first punch, but it nicely merges with notes of dried fruits, roasted malt and chocolate.. I even recall some peach on it! (?!)

M- It wasn't viscous as I expected, the carbonation is perfectly balanced with the mix of flavors coming out of it, and it comes down dangerously easy!

O- On a very personal level, this is just a spit away from what would be my perfect black ale, the looks and taste are great, and it doesn't get stuck on your mouth forever, letting you enjoy it while having any steak or burger or any other thing you like! (and trust me, well it goes!)


diegoangeles, May 06, 2011
Photo of TheDudeRules
1.85/5  rDev -56.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

From a bomber to my Darkness snifter.

Pours a dark chocolatey brown. A mountain of tan head rests upon the liquid. I sit and wait for it to come back to earth. Heavy sticky lacing remains cemented to the sides of my glass. Smells incredibly hoppy. Literally jumps out of my glass and into my nose. I get some light maltyness in the backend. Pretty lively and bubbly on my tongue. About the only thing going for it. A hoppy IPA that had sex with a malty coffee brown ale. Hate is not a strong enough word for how I feel about this beer. I'm looking for the litterbox for something to suck on to get this taste out of my mouth. I had have the glass and dumped everything else down the drain. Not before I gave my wife a sip to make sure I wasn't crazy. The look of horror on her face was enough of an answer for me, words were not needed.

Another horrible offering from this company. They have one more chance with me. Their RIS. Hopefully that is good. As it stands right now if Stone was giving me free beer I wouldn't bother drinking any of it.

TheDudeRules, May 06, 2011
Photo of Bighuge
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby. Almost black. Thin cola colored head that leaves nice amounts of lace.

Aroma: Bready malts, cocoa nibs and juicy hops.

Appearance: Nice bitter hop presence noticed first and then some alcohol, which is quite noticeable and actually, a little overbearing and scathing in this beer. Covers up a lot of what I was expecting in the hop department. There's some hop juiciness noted, but not a lot. Chocolate is distant. Decent flavor, but not great.

MF/DK: Medium bodied and light=medium to medium bodied. A bit of spiciness from the alcohol and a long lingering astringency from the alcohol. Fair, but not one I'll be tapping again soon.

Bighuge, May 06, 2011
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a one-finger off-tan head. Nice retention and lace.

Nose is massively dark- burnt malt, coffee and earth with touches of prune and piney hops.

A brief moment of sweet smoky malt yields to gigantic bitterness- espresso and earth tones turn slightly resinous on the mouthwatering, dark chocolatey finish.

Overall, this is good no doubt, but personally I'd opt for a good ol' Stone IPA with a touch more brightness. Maybe this is more of a wintertime brew for me cuz the darkness is vast, oppressive and soul-crushing. It's something that can come from no one but Stone.

TheWhiskerReview, May 03, 2011
Photo of techfed87
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, strong head. Color is pitch black dark. Smell is a bit hoppier than I expected it to be.

First sip is a nice pairing of dark, charred malt flavor and hop bitterness that gives the beer a body and flavor that matches its color and smell in intensity. Aftertaste is a smooth as well, allowing the flavor to dissipate over time.

A very good beer, you should try it!

techfed87, May 01, 2011
Photo of 1229design
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown bomber into a pint glass

Appears super dark brown almost black, Nice tan head with lacing all the way to the bottom of my Lakemaid pint glass.

Smells very hoppy some malt essence coming through, a bit of pine too.

Tastes like it smells times a hundred, a huge piney like hoppiness up front with some big malt punching through and finishing bitter to balance out the sweet malts. smooth warming alcohol sneaks in.

Dark and full bodied, almost reminds me of a porter on hop steroids....that's a good thing!

massively tasty, not for the faint of heart
delicious if you like big beers! a must if you appreciate stones other offerings.

1229design, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of StlHopHead77
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A-Pours out deep,deep,jet-black with only the slightest hint of light permeating it.A dense,creamy,camel tan head of 3 inches sat atop it and showed good retention before smearing the inside of the glass with extremely sticky,sheets of lacing.

S-Big punch upfront of orange zest,stonefruit and pine with supporting notes of semisweet chocolate and slightly burnt toast.Beautiful blend of fruity sweetness and Dark chocolate/dark roast tang on the nose.

T-Initially,aggressive citric hop sweetness and bitterness take the lead but these are supported by lightly charred malts,sweet chocolate and some dried fruit flavors.At one point this totally reminded me of an orange Tootsie Pop.

M-Medium/full body with good carbonation,a nice lingering oily character and great roasted malt qualities.

O-This is a truly exceptional brew and a definite repeater!

StlHopHead77, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of shangwang
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to dmp274 for sharing this one with me.

I enojoyed this beer right off the bat just from the smells- lots of floral hops, vanilla, and sweet bread. Great appearance - dark and jet black but surprisingly wasn't viscous at all, and a delicate bubbly head which dissipated quickly. The taste was equally complex: hints of citrusy sweetness, but bitterness akin to a grapefruit, with lots of roasted malt. Creamy mouthfeel, medium in weight. It finished with a boozy bitterness that didn't linger. Definitely drinkable.

Overall, a well-balanced ale with lots of interesting subtleties that indulged all of the senses. I will definitely be looking for this one again.

shangwang, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of chugalug06
2.15/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Personally, I thought this brew was one of the most offensive brews i've ever had... Very strong and upfront booze flavor with hidden hop. For the style, I was looking for hover hopped goodness, none was to be found.

The strong black booze was severely over taking and was very hard to get through. I almost sent back the brew once served. Way too over done; it seems Stone is going more and more this route with their brews :( I wonder if the keg lines have been cleaned recently...

Fairly decent out of the bottle, but no bueno per draft...

C at best, had I been at home... This one would have ended as a drain pour.

chugalug06, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of zimm421
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip. Appears not quite black, but almost there. Has a thick brown head that stays thick for a while. The head leaves good lacing, and never really goes away.

Smells amazing. Full of hops, lots of citrus. There's also a good toasty malt scent, and some nice brown sugar aromas as well. The taste is definitely sweet. Full of nice roasted malts, and also has some great brown sugar flavors as well, just like the nose. There are also great hop flavors with nice floral and citrus notes coming through. There are also some alcohol flavors present, but all together, it works perfectly. Definitely impressed here.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with a slightly above-average carbonation level. This goes down easily, even though it's definitely not a beer you can drink fast. Overall, this is an impressive brew. Glad I picked it up, something I'll have to pickup again soon.

zimm421, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of jera1350
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Solid black in color with a thick cap of creamy taupe colored foam that sticks around the inside of the glass.

True to style, the nose offers up some light roasty malt and coffee notes with grassy and herbal hops. A nice little blend.

Tastes much like an extremely hopped smoked porter. Toasty malt with some light smoke and coffee bean. The hops are also there in almost equal part. There is hop bitterness with some earthy and piney notes. Pretty damn complex.

Really nice mouthfeel. The carbonation is outstandingly creamy and soft. The body is smooth and about medium in heft. Lightly dry finishing.

This is a complex and excellent example of this new style. Not the best I've had, but certainly an appropriate and enjoyable example that I would have again.

jera1350, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of PDXHops
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Some copper highlights along the edges of the near-black body. Thin beige head, OK retention and lacing.

A very nice CDA. The nose reveals a touch of burnt malt along with a heartier serving of roast and a ton of pine needle and grapefruit hop aromas. Fresh, bold and inviting. Taste is more of the same. A touch less chocolate and a touch more roast would send it to the top of the class, but that’s nitpicking; this is a damned fine brew. Crazy fresh hop flavor with a fair amount of bitterness. Medium bodied with a dryish finish that brings the roast back into play. Alarmingly drinkable at this ABV; indeed, the booze is barely noticeable. Without ready access to my PNW favorites, this is my go-to for the CDA style.

PDXHops, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of ADZA
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is definately a beer ive been looking forwards to sample about time we see these good brews in Australia and it pours a lucious dark kola hue that lets no light in with decent carbonation that leaves behind a one finger head that stays and leaves sporadic clingy lacing,it has a nice medium bodied perfectly carbonated mouthfeel which feels ultra smooth and leaves you with tastes of piney hops,boiled candy,mandarin,mocha,a light tinge of caramel,piney hops,bitter milky coffee and on finish suprisingly the bitterness is subdued by the sweet dark malt character and overall a truly beautiful drop which really shows how an ABA should be balanced like.

ADZA, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of bbkd3b
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - A black ale indeed, this beer is ebony through and through. Finger-thick tan head comes along for the ride with decent retention. Lacing is surprisingly minimal on this one.

S - Nose is strong in its piney scent. Has a small backbone of roasted malts and chocolate, but not much else.

T - Much maltier and balanced than the nose, oddly enough. Citrus flavors explode on the front end before it melts into a sweeter beer, with a roasted cereal character, if you can imagine that. Finally, the back end brings those piney scents get a big payoff. Really robust character with a notable bitterness.

M - Lighter than I’d expect for a beer like this, with a smooth, creamy consistency and a prickly carbonation. Finish is about as clean as you can find.

Overall/notes - Really good beer. Don’t have much of a comparison as its my first black ale, but I can say that it’s fairly enjoyable. The strongest suit is its balance

bbkd3b, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of daledeee
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bottle. I bought it because the name sounded good. Oh yeah, Stone is usually good too.

Poured a very dark body; might as well call it black. Off white head: a big one. Nice lacing.

Nose is hops.

Taste is in your face hops. Very piny and strong and I think some oak. AS it warmed up, there may have been some vanilla in the back ground but the hops overpowered it.

Mouth feel is nice as well. Just the right carbonation.

If you're a hop head, this is for you. Really strong hop presence and bitter. Well done.

daledeee, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of KMDouds
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa, Stone has done it again! Sublimely Self-Righteous plays like a sacred union between an IPA and a Porter. Apparently such a union between these 2 styles yields a very favorable Black Ale.

Think big hops meets big malt. The slightly sweet slightly burnt malt flavoring is off set by the characteristic Stone hoppiness.

I experience this as a sipping brew: a beer to enjoy with time and conversation, something that warms with time, and actually improves upon it's initial taste. Strong across the board. The only thing that precludes a very high rating is it's fragrance, and that's perhaps the most subjective of the categories.

KMDouds, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of PorterLambic
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deeply dark brown borderng on absolutely black. A medium tan head retreats to a thick, creamy looking film that leaves some awesome lacing behind.
Smell is hops aplenty, after warming for about 10 minutes faint notes of malt and brown sugar.
Taste is hoppy, citrusy, malt and
Warming with a medium-to-full body. A somewhat sharp effervescence that fades quickly and a dry finish to end with. A good beer, quite enjoyable. It appears "black ale" means Dark IPA. Fine with me but a bit of notice, eh?

PorterLambic, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank at The Monk, Fremantle

A - Pors a deep Mahogany colour withe two fingered off White head that left rings all the way down the glass.

S - Plenty of piney hops present with some sweet roasted malts too.

T - Nice Grapefruit flavours up front with the hops up front before the malt almost completely takes over the brew and leaves withasweet bitter finish. Impressive

M - Medium to full body with minimal carbonation.

O - One of the best beers I have had this year so far. Fantastic brew.

eric5bellies, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of legalpete19340
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured very dark brown almost black with a huge head of sand. The beer laced endlessly and perfectly.

S: Lots of ripe grapefruit and citrus, pine in the background, some slight grassy notes as well. A bit of roasted malt sweetness too. Just great smelling beer. So fragrant.

T: Juicy grapefruit, citrus hops explode. I mean this is a monster. I still get some pine but mostly grapefruit. There is enough malt to stand up to the hops but it never dominates the flavor for more than a second in the mid swig. The malt is dark, bitter and sweet like russian bread. But this is all perfect hop character. Have..no..words.

M: I dont care, this is too good. It seems a little heavier which is good for the brew. Not syrupy.

O: Awesome glorious dark sexy hoperfection.

legalpete19340, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not really black but dark brown. Two fingers of head forms and slowly settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Mostly hops in the aroma with hints of pine and citrus. Seems to be the popular hop bill for this style of beer. Missing roasted malt aroma however.

The flavor features a lot of hops which is not surprising. Mostly pine but also some grapefruit. Not really tasting the "black" part of this beer. A little smoke is about all I get. Bitterness is high.

Substantial body and nicely carbonated. Not porter/stout like in body but a little more than a typical pale ale.

In a blind taste test I doubt I could identify it as a black ale and not an IPA. What's the point then?

morimech, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of RickS95
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not 100% black, but awfully close, maybe a touch of dark brown around the edges. Pours a nice head, a combination of large and small bubbles, off-tan in color.

Lots of smells and they're all fighting to be noticed. At different times I picked up scents of coffee, chocolate, licorice, Fritos, sawdust and flowers.

Tastes pale ale-ish. In addition to flowery hops, there was some coffee and licorice. The more I drink, the more I pick up bitter chocolate and tea.

There's complexity on the palate as it starts off creamy but ends on a very bitter note. It's full bodied and as I try to distinguish all things that are happening, I see nice lacing on the glass.

Overall, there's lots to like about this. It looks good and tastes good. It's got good alcohol, but nothing is offensive.

RickS95, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Vixie
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one dark beer. Pitch black, with a large tan head.

Smell is mainly hops, with a hint of malt and yeast.

Very complex taste. Reminds me a lot of am imperial stout, but with a large dose of hops. There is coffee and chocolate in there, and a bit of smoke as well. The hops are pronounced, adding an almost fruity bite.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for how dark this beer is, I expected something a little thicker.

An interesting beer. I really don't care much for IPAs, so scored this one a bit lower than I might have otherwise. Still, this is a very complex beer, which scores points with me. There is a lot going on here, the only thing keeping me from really loving this is the high hops content. If you are a fan of hops, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

Vixie, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of colts9016
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at 47 degree, drank at Marcellars.

Appearance: A very nice 2 finger head that has good retention and the color is a medium tan.The head is foamy and cream with some lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is opaque with dark brown highlight. The clarity is nonexistent, however there is some carbonation bubbles visible on the side of the glass.

Nose: A very rich roasted malt, chocolate, espresso, and a very night toasty note. There are note of phenols and yeast. The hops is strong and more flavorful than the bottle. The hops are floral bouquet, pine, and grapefruit.

Taste: A very strong malt backbone with flavors of chocolate, espresso, and a rounded toasty note. There are note of phenols, yeast, and a touch of solvent. The hops is floral, pine, and grapefruit.

The mouth feel is carbonated, astringent, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. This beer is so much better on tap than in the bottle.

colts9016, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of stevenseg
3.13/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up this bottle of Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing out of Escondido, California at my newly-adopted corner beer store after a long Friday to arm myself for the weekend. Being a stout lover, I recently found myself fitting the hophead mold, so the recent black IPA trend is lending to both ends of the spectrum of my palate. Black IPAs have that hop character we all love paired with the roastiness of a light stout of porter. Usually complex given the dichotomy of the style, and I expect SSRA to live up to the Stone standard and really please my palate.

SSRA pours a deep red hue...almost black. The head pours to a healthy presence, dissipating to a thin film of lacing to greet the nose. I am a fan of thick stout beers...the darker and less viscous the better. This beer doesn't have too heavy a body and isn't too dark as too much of either would kill the IPA character.

The nose hits with a blast of hops, but only because I'm trying to pick out the "black" and the "IPA" in beers of this style. However, the roastiness and fruitiness of the of each element settle in to a faint grape-like smell...like burying my nose in a glass of Welch's.

The bitter back end of the IPA is the most dominant characteristic of this beer. There is a bit of roastiness up front that shares space with the short-boil hops, but the bitterness of the Chinook, Simcoe & Amarillo hops used in the long boil really takes over this beer. The "black" character really only lingers in the aftertaste. No solvent taste protrudes despite the rather high 8.7% ABV. At least 89 of the 90 IBU's are used up in the bitter back of the palate. More black, less bitter? I'm trying to taste fruity character or other taste elements, malt, but all I get is bitterness. There might as well be no "black" at all.

The texture of the beer is pretty typical Stone. A little more thickness, ala Arrogant Bastard, would have been appreciated. Adjuncts were used to increase the ABV without increasing body, and that's never a good thing. Skimping on malt is never a good thing, especially with the intended audience of Stone beers.

Do I like SSRA? Absolutely! But a style that has so much complexity is cheated by imbalance with this ale. The complexity, which is nonexistent in SSRA, typically is a focal point of black IPA's, but the hop bitterness is by far the dominant characteristic. I like to review beers according to the intent of the brewmaster, but even after doing some research on the Stone sight I can't tell what the intent actually is. The marketers have spent so many words pushing the "arrogant" mantra there is no attention paid to what the beer is actually supposed to be.

I can sit down with a bomber of SSRA, but if I'm in a mood for a black IPA, I'll do some scouting for a bit of a better representation.

stevenseg, Apr 16, 2011
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 5,506 ratings.