Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 5,081 | Reviews: 1,819 | Display Reviews Only:
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
american strong ale. such a broad category. one that stone knows very well. however, as the bottle states, this is a dark ipa. and i think the beer fits that category better than the more generic strong ale. but this isnt a debate on style, its a beer review. so here goes.
very classy appearance. clear near black color with some nice red hues when held to light. the ample head, which never quite settles completely, is lightly tanned but not much. good lacing. low carbonation.
the aroma is where this beer stands apart from most strong ales. certainly leans towards ipa with its super hopped nose. a blend of citrus and floral (dont think i can tell them apart any more to be honest) with a backing of alcohol.
bitterness seems to be the focus of the taste, dont let the dark color fool you. very little influence from the malts. well, other than providing food for the yeast. the start shows a good portion of hops. as they fade i expected some sort of dark sweet malt flavor that never really arrived. even as it warms, it seems that more hops come in to round out the flavor. not that this is a bad thing. just my reasoning to this beer being more an ipa than strong ale. but anyway.
mouthfeel seems a bit heavy suffering the same fate as the 10th ann. too sticky sweet. this also hurts drinkability.
overall, a big beer to celebrate another year for stone. well done to them. and a beer for the rest of us to celebrate with. hmm, what will i celebrate tonight?
10-18-2007 10:52:15 | More by joecast
3.4/5 rDev -19.4%
App: Pours black with a tan head about 1 finger high, moving down to a ring and lacing the sides of the glass.
Smell: Despite the appearance, this does smell like a hop bomb. The hops smell fresh with a classic big alpha smell followed by some more intricate hop aromas. There's also an alcoholic essence in this thing.
Taste: Very hoppy like the smell and other than some roastiness, there isn't a lot else going on. Not much of a malt background, and somewhat boring bassed solely on the hops.
Mouthfeel: Very bitter from the hops and the roastiness, and light bodied. The carbonation doesn't do enough to balance the bitterness, and for how it looks I can't get over how thin it feels on my palate.
Drinkability: I made it throught the bomber, and would have it again if it was free, but I don't understand why it's so loved. I think the bastards are better strong ales, and i'd rather have a straight up dipa if i want the aggressive hops. It's still good though, and worth a try.
10-17-2007 21:22:48 | More by dbalsock
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
appearance: poured dark brown with a hint caramel hue shinning around the rim. A two finger, espresso like creamy head followed. The head fully lasted leaving an excellent sticky lacing from top to bottom.
smell: deep roasted chocolate and molasses upfront, followed by a pine forest from the hops, ending with hints of cola, vanilla, sweet raisin and espresso.
taste and mouthfeel: Fantastic! a very bitter and hoppy pine resin and interesting citrus bite, followed by an oily feel, toasty sweet malt and cola. Toward the end, hint of dark dates and toasted bread were accompanied by a moderate taste of alcohol.
drinkability: smooth, softly carbonated and clean brew makes this easy to enjoy, nice alcohol bite.
Overall, this brew rocks. Stone creates another beauty.
10-17-2007 21:08:49 | More by GimpyCane
4.43/5 rDev +5%
Pours a rich deep walnut/mahogany color like my bedroom suite but deeper, with a nice rich brown headthat falls slow to a thin cap and laces pretty well
Aroma is wnderful hoppy nice pine aromas are almost forest like, and dominate the nose. Malt plays out underneath nice caramel, with some chocolate malts.
Taste is great loads of hops, what else would one expect from Stone. Nice rich resiny pine all over your mouth, good pine flavors, very nice. Malt does show up more in taste then the nose, nice caramel malts with a good dose of roasted malts, some coffee hints and chocolate notes.
Mouthfeel is nice rich medium with a decent carbonation kick.
Drinkability is great, seems more people making a rich hoppy porter like brew and for one I am enjoying them. Hope they get more of these in only had a couple guess I am lucky to get a couple here in Bristol but I want more.
10-17-2007 17:31:03 | More by mntlover
3.93/5 rDev -6.9%
A- Pours with a huge tan head on a really dark pretty much black body. Nice thick lacing stays behind.
S- Tons of citrus hops in the nose. A roasted grapefruit would be one easy way to explain this one. The roasted and burnt grains come through in the aroma but the over powering grapefruit and citrus hops clearly win the battle here.
T- Lots of hops but the burnt malt body really does come through especially when it lingers on in the after taste. Grapefruit hops leave a nice big bitterness all over the mouth and with the burnt malts really help to stick all over the mouth. The hop combination on this one is very different since it is the strong grapefruit but you also get some nice ripe fruit juice along with some rind.
M- Medium body with low carbonation.
D-It is a good brew but wouldn't say it's anything I couldn't live without. I'll drink the rest of the ones I have but won't be buying any more.
10-17-2007 06:54:21 | More by BlindPig
4.9/5 rDev +16.1%
I've been aging this one since Sept. 07 (5 months) and finally decided to pop it. This ale gets considerably better after a little cellartime. AMAZING, Stone! How do ya do it?
<orig. review 10-17-07>
What an amazing ale.
Pours a dark mahogany into my pint glass, with a 2 finger almost-yellow head that lingers forever, leaving a strong lacing on the glass that lasts until the finish.
Aroma is extraordinarily complex. Definitely the trademark Stone IPA hop aroma, but there is caramel, pine, roasted malts, light coffee, citrus. Pop this one just below cellar temp and then keep sniffing as it warms. Amazing.
Taste is phenomenal. Nice, piney/citrussy hops underwritten by the very slight toasted malt flavor. The "toastedness" of the malt is so slight and subtle it's perfect. Hoppy bitterness certainly dominates, but there are undertones of plum, caramel, fruit all in perfect balance.
Mouthfeel is excellent, perfectly carbonated, nice and substantial, lingers on the palate for just the right amount of time.
Drinkability is good for an 8.7 ABV, quite sessionable indeed.
10-17-2007 04:53:26 | More by kosmoraios
3.48/5 rDev -17.5%
Had this on tap at Fathead's served in a stemmed tulip like glass.
Black,opaque had just a tan ring of foam around the inside of the glass when served to me.
Intense hop nose,complex, Very piney,leafy with a strong minty/evergreen aromas with a sight sweet malt note. The hops were overpowering hard to smell anything else.
Very piney taste,resinous/leafy, tons of hops and intense bitterness. Very dry,astrigent slight sweet maltiness buried under the hops. Couldn't taste any alcohol either. Would have expected more maltiness with the dark color,really got fooled there.
Very thick,full and syrupy. Rough drinkability,unbalanced would have like some maltiness in there,maybe with some aging. A sipper for sure,just one at a time please. If you a hophead enjoy it now,if not might want to sit on this one a bit.
10-17-2007 02:24:26 | More by jcdiflorio
4.8/5 rDev +13.7%
I looked far and wide for this beer. Ended up at the BevMo in West Hollywood. I only had a nickel for the meter so I had to get into the store, get the beer, and get out in 4 minutes. Mission accomplished.
Poured into my new tulip glass from a 22 oz bomber.
A: Dark. The bottle says it's an IPA, but the color isn't right. It's not quite black, if you hold it up to the light it's really a super dark reddish-brown. A nice tan head, very frothy.
S: Quite fruity, mango maybe, or passion fruit. Smells very swee though. A bit of a hop blast but it's subtle. It's odd because you expect something roasty and you get this...
T: This is a complex beer, lots of flavors going on. The hops dominate from start to finish. Citrus and pine, hits you with the first sip and stays in the mouth. The sweetness is there as well, still tastes tropical to me. A bit of roasted dark mult but not much.
MF: It's a pretty thick, full beer, and the flavors linger for a long time. Not much warming and the alcohol is well masked, not that 8.7% is out of this world or anything. Soooo smooth, especially for an IPA.
D: Man is this beer good. I may just have to go buy a few more bottles of this before it's gone. The taste makes this one a sipper, but you could really gulp these down. Of course, the alcohol catches up to you. The balance is just awesome here. Please god, let more people make black IPA's. Seriously. Great work from Stone, as always.
10-17-2007 02:16:39 | More by rxdrewthejew
4.45/5 rDev +5.5%
A- Very dark brown with a slight reddish tinge. Almost black, but not quite. Nice inch or so of light tan head.
S- Ahhh, now that's the stuff! Amazing hoppy aroma. Strong Simcoe aroma comes through with sweet citrus and floral notes. Only the slightest hint of roasted malt is detectable, but it's certainly there and adds complexity to the smell.
T- It's not particularly sweet, surprisingly enough. It starts out kind of tangy and citrusy before taking on stronger flavors of pine and coffee. The hops and the roasted malt complement each other quite nicely. Alcohol peeks through from time to time. The bitterness is substantial and is joined on the finish by a somewhat astringent roastiness. I suspect my palate is ruined for the rest of the evening.
M- Medium-full body with a fairly low carbonation level that suits the beer just fine.
D- After drinking one, it seems pointless to drink another because I probably won't be able to taste it. But that one sure was nice.
I've pretty much run out of things to say about Stone, so I won't even bother. Just know that this beer lives up to the brewery's lofty standards. If you like big IPA's and are a fan of Stone's beers, then you have to give this a try. But you already knew that, didn't you?
10-16-2007 22:21:02 | More by vtfan77
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
650ml bottle from Henry’s Market. Pours a deep dark coffee brown color with a khaki head that has plenty of lacing and fades very slowly. Aroma is pungent with hops, grapefruit, oranges and walnuts. Flavor is ripe with oranges, green cedar, burnt toast and bittersweet chocolate; all set in a biter hops backdrop. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with light but distinct carbonation. Finish is more biter-sweet chocolate and hops. This concoction tastes (to me) like a three-way cross between Arrogant Bastard, Ruination IPA and Smoked Porter. I love it. I may get a case to stash away, this should age very well. Wow. Recommended
10-16-2007 20:10:58 | More by likestoswallow
4.05/5 rDev -4%
Update - I had one of these last night that has been aging almost 4 months. It is like a different beer. Nicer, cleaner smell and much more balanced flavor. That harsh bitter aftertaste is all but gone. I am very impressed with how well this is aging. Boy am I glad I have 3 more bottles. So, I have upped my taste from 3.5 to 4.0. I will reconsider in a month or two and maybe bring it up a little more.
Original review -
I have to say, I had really high hopes for this after last year's anniversary ale. Unfortunately I was left a little disappointed. Still a good beer, just no fireworks for me. Starts off nice, with a black pour with a thick tan head that is frothy with bubbles ranging from very small to 1/8". You can see active carbonation in the body, and it leaves sparse lace up the side of my tulip glass. The smell is there too, with citrus to floral hops coming through first with light malt in the background. It smells almost summer-y and is a surprise considering how dark the beer is. I was expecting strong roasted malts but it isn't really there. There is light caramel to molasses with increasing caramel and decreasing hops smell as it warms.
The initial flavor is nice and bitter with a sweet to smkey transition to a long lived very bitter, almost harsh aftertaste. The aftertaste is complex with roasted to burnt malt and strong hop bitterness that never seems to go away. Not as balanced as I would like and the aftertaste is just too bitter and stays around too long. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a milky to creamy feel, active carbonation and slightly alcoholic finish.
Overall, this is a good beer. I guess it is one of those situations where you look forward to something for too long - a year! The complexity is good, but the balandce is not. It is great for a hop head that likes it dark, but I don't expect to be desperately seeking this one out like I was with last year's beer.
10-16-2007 19:09:30 | More by walshclimb
4.3/5 rDev +1.9%
A black colored beer with pin grapefruit and resinous hops flowing through the nose and mouth like a DIPA. Who would thunk? Apparently Stone. The Traditional IPAs get a bit dull after a while. A bit repetitious. This is an interesting way to mix it up.
I have now had several pints of this beer. First on-tap at Capones Restaurant in Norristown, a taste out of a bottle and now I have an entire growler all to my self. (long story was supposed to be shared... oh well... more for me =).
At first I thought they were going for hoppy porter with this beer. Hoppy porters seem to be all around me about now. My notes from the first tasting at the bar were rather undecided. My second tasting of it was a bit more convincing. Now that I realize I am on my second snifter of this growler, I am very pleased with the beer.
Appearance: Pours a dark brown almost black color with a beautiful brown head and moderate lacing.
Smell: What is going on here? WOW. I get a big pine, citrus rind resinous hop bitterness, pineapple floral notes and also a black malt, toasted caramel malty element as well.
Taste: Like the nose, it is a muddle of DIPA flavors primarily but with a roasted Swartzbeir underneath all those fresh hops. It starts boldly hoppy. Grapefruit and pine. The flavor turns roasted espresso dark chocolate bitter through the mid to late end of the palate and then the finish and aftertaste is all about the hops once again. The aftertaste cling indefinitely to the taste buds with both coffee bitterness and pin resin bitterness, though all the burps are of the green variety. =)
Mouthfeel: With all the molasses and dark chocolate flavors even a touch of pumpernickel bread, I hoped for a slightly heartier body. This is an easy drinking beer but I don't think it will age well.
Drinkability: Damn, what can I say when I am singlehandedly polishing off a growler. Pretty drinkable beer. With out question. And certainly unique; which I always respect.
Hope this is helpful.
10-16-2007 05:29:34 | More by Phatz
3.68/5 rDev -12.8%
This Black IPA pours a very dark black with a tan colored head. Certainly has the black part of Black IPA completed. Wonderful webbing and rings of sticky lacing.
Smells very hoppy and very much like an IPA. Looks can be very deceiving.
Tastes of resinous hops. Very bitter, but the grapefruit, piney, and grass flavors are lacking and leave mostly a bitter flavor. Fortunately, there are some caramel malt flavors that jump in.
Mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation serves to enhance the biting hop flavors. Drinkability is high for the abv, but the hops are a little out of whack for me and hurt the drinkability a bit.
More of a Double Black IPA than the Black IPA name it has earned. It is reminiscent of a Black Ruination, but slightly lacking.
10-15-2007 20:55:05 | More by Jmamay22
4.7/5 rDev +11.4%
On tap at Brew House Grill
A--Nearly pitch black...not what I expected. Slight deep ruby highlights on edges. Nice, fluffy, off-white head. Laces very nicely.
S--Huge hops, lots of pine resin and citrus. Must be dry-hopped to high heaven as I could not discern a malt presence at all.
T--BAM! hops flavors are grapefruit and pine. More tasting unveils a bit of chocolate, caramel and roasted malt flavors. Finishes with a ton of hops in the aftertaste.
M--Big rich and full bodied with tons o hops and a nice malt afterkick.
D--Lots o hops and a good malt backbone...what more could you want. I really enjoyed drinking this offering from Stone...another fine offering! I could easily drink 2 or 3 in a row...well done!
10-15-2007 11:29:20 | More by Deuane
District of Columbia
3.93/5 rDev -6.9%
i picked this up at the Village Market in Gambier. $6
it's very dark for an american strong, though i suppose this is a bit of a catchall category anyhow. the head is resplendant and leaves frosty lacing in its wake. fine bubbles are reinforced at the back (bottom) by moreeven finer
big scent of chinook (warrior?) hops. citrus and pine. my nose says IIPA. i get a suggestion of malt, but it's really all hop
my tongue says "i see what they mean by black ipa". though not featuring the sweetness or body of an RIS, some of the darkness limps through the hop front line. it's minimal, but comes through with a more roasted note. there's a touch of bitterness from the malts that plays with that of the hops. lots of high AA NW hops
10-15-2007 02:01:11 | More by bruachan
3.85/5 rDev -8.8%
I just missed out on buying Stone 10th in stores last year. I wasn't about to miss Stone 11th this year. This is my first bottle of it.
APPEARANCE: Pours into my Victory becker black in color with a 3-finger high loose-bubbled light tan head. It drops to a thick surface coating never once showing the surface of the beer. Lacing comes in sheets all the way down the glass.
SMELL: Huge hop profile that is very characteristic of Stone. Spicy, piny, and slightly citrusy hops dominate the nose. Additional sniffs yield the chocolate-type malt aromas one would expect from the color of this beer. Make no mistake though - the hops are king here by a large margin.
TASTE: Surprise! It's a hop bomb. Again, a very typical Stone hop profile with maybe a bit of extra citrusy sweet dry-hopped oomf. All I can taste is the hops even as the beer crosses my palate. And just as I'm about to be disappointed by the lack of flavor from the malt, it all of sudden kicks in... and keeps going. The finish has chocolate flavors growing and growing. And then it gets roasty and just keeps getting stronger long after the beer is gone. A very cool 2-layered taste.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium full body that is just a bit syrupy. Carbonation level is higher than average but at a nice level.
DRINKABILITY: Stone 11th is kind of doomed from the start in this category. Huge body, huge ABV, stout flavors, and massive hops are tough on their own. But when all combined into one beer, it's tough to want more than 1 bomber. Taking that into account though, it's still a pretty nice drinker.
I've never had anything like this beer before, but I'm very intrigued by it. My best description would be to call it an Inverse Imperial Stout. It's clearly a DIPA first and foremost, but with a really cool twist. I can't wait to drink my others.
10-15-2007 01:36:58 | More by jmalex
4.63/5 rDev +9.7%
Bought in NY, smuggled to Chicago, where Stone does not exist....
Out of a 22oz. bomber and into my Delerium Tremens Tulip, this gem pours very dark brown, almost black. Unfortunately my cold does not allow me to pick up all the notes in this one. Roasted malts and a decent hop profile define this beer, but do not overpower the chocolate and some sort of fruit (dates, raisins?) that come through on the back end. There is a slight warming from the alcohol after it is all said and done....until you take another sip....gets more complex as it warms, but again, my cold is not allowing me to identify alot of these tastes. The mouthfeel is exciting but smooth. This is categorized as an American Strong Ale, but it seems like more of an Imperial Stout or Porter. At 8.7%, I'm not sure I could drink this all night, but I wouldn't be afraid to have a couple.
Stone has never let me down before, and judging by this 11th anniversary ale, they probably never will. Well done sirs.
10-14-2007 02:03:06 | More by mdubzfrumpdubz
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
Poured into a tulip tasting glass. One word to describe how this beer looks, "beautiful". A very dark orangish brown with a 4 in head that settles to a nice frothy creamy brownish head. The nose roasted nuts with a little hoppiness in the background. I am really not sure how to describe the taste other than well balanced with a nice amount of bite due to the high alcohol content, but as stated before well balanced. The mouthfeel right amount of carbination slightly viscious and slippery. This is a big beer, as much as I would like to I could probably only drink a couple.
10-13-2007 02:04:22 | More by aquaderek
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Dark brown almost black in color. Nice fine foamed tan head that you would expect on a stout. Smell kills the idea that this is a stout right away. Big floral hops smell that just blows me away. This has to be one of the best smelling beers ever. Some sweet malt comes through in the background but it is really the floral smell that stands out. Taste is hoppy up front and then big malts kick in. Very sweet followed by a mild bitterness. Solid chewy mouthfeel that lets you know there something behind this one. Once again a solid beer from Stone.
10-13-2007 01:51:01 | More by beermanbrian
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
Served from a 22oz bomber into a Stone Pint Glass.
This ale pours dark, dark black, with some faint ruby highlights at the edge. The one fingerof tan head gradually dissipates, but never fully dissapears. This definitely looks a lot like a porter or stout.
The smell, though, is pure DIPA. The citrusy West Coast hops are the most dominant, followed by pine and a faint sweetness.
The taste is similar, with a piney, grapfruit flavor leading off, with a very subdued maltiness and alcohol followup.
The mouthfeel is fairly full. Drinkability is good for the style and strenght though, as this DIPA doesn't have the overpowering aftertaste that many of them do.
Overall, this is a good DIPA, very much what you'd expect from Stone. On the flip side, there's not much to distinguish this from their other IPAs, aside from abv and looks.
10-12-2007 22:57:35 | More by auntfloyd
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
appearance: it's pitch black. the head is nice and tan and thick and leaves nice lacing on the glass. For an Imperial Stout this is awesome.
smell: ok, so this is not an Imperial Stout. it's another stone double IPA that happens to be black. very raw and sticky hops. no hint of malt of any kind like one would expect from the color. Of course if you read the back it tells you it's a black IPA.
taste: very good. Strong IPA front with the same raw and super sticky hops we got in number 10. The bitterness is here but in balance. After all the front end hoppiness we get just a hint of coffee smoothness at the end. Much less than a stout but enough to had a hint of complexity. wow.
mouthfeel: nicely done as usual by stone. runs about medium, probably a bit lighter than an average IPA.
Drinkability: pretty much compels you to take another sip.
10-12-2007 05:39:49 | More by pjwilson
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
I didn't really know what I was buying when I picke this up.
A: Pours black/ruby, with a substantial tan head.
S: Hops, citrus and alcohol.
T: Complex, as most Stone beers are. Grapefruit, pine, and really strong hops. Some sweetness.
M: Sticky, maybe a bit too much.
D: Great stuff, but treat it with respect.
10-11-2007 23:11:54 | More by Admiraldinty
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
Pours a deep opaque amber, almost black, with a tan head. Aromas of grapefruity hops, mellow, and non abrasive. In the taste, huge grapefruity hops and a smooth maltiness. A smooth, small bitterness mouthfeel and a grapefruity hop aftertaste. A hop bomb, interesting in color and style. I felt it tasted like an IPA, and looked like a porter, not bad for a strong ale.
10-11-2007 20:42:48 | More by OWSLEY069
3.48/5 rDev -17.5%
Aroma is hops. And then more hops, and then more hops. Citrus and spice. Once it gets very warm, then a little hint of malt and roast character comes through. I don't want to rip it for being one dimensional, it is a Stone Anniversary so what do you expect. The hop aroma is good, fresh smelling and spicy but that's it.
Appearance is deep black with a good solid tan head that leaves great lacing throughout the glass. Held up to the light it has nice red highlights.
Flavor is very Stone. Lots of hop bitterness. Then lots of grassy & Citrus hop flavor. Then lots of fresh hop flavor in the aftertaste. There's barely a hint of malt flavor and if there's any black or roasted malt in there it's blown out by the IBUs. Again, really one dimensional.
Full bodied with a very nice lively carbonation level. Just barely warming from alcohol.
It's a tough one for me. On the one hand, I expect a Stone anniversary to be very aggressively hopped. But the idea of a black IPA is very intriguing. But any flavor or character that might make this unique as a black IPA is blown out by the extreme hoppiness. I like it but I can't help thinking about what could have been if the roast or black malt might have come through a little bit.
10-11-2007 05:07:49 | More by czechsaaz
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Thanks to Seaoflament for this bomber sent as part of the 1000 Mile (East/West) BIF. Big thanks, Carlos!
Pours a deep black with some dark mahogany highlights. There's a thick peanut brittle colored head that has good staying power and leaves nice lacing.
The aroma is lightly sweet with some nuttiness. Oh yeah...there is some hops in this bad boy, also. Lots of 'em. Resinous pine and burning citrus. A bit of a vinous scent in the background as well.
The taste is a complex one, imo. Of course the hops are the main factor, but there are many other players here. A touch of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee with a good dose of cream, and some alcohol. Maybe it's just me ,but, I get some wood in here, too. I can just sip and think on this one a while....
Bitter, drying aftertaste from this medium body beer. This one's like a mix of a DIPA, porter, cream stout, and a strong ale. I wasn't sure at first, but as it warmed some it really grew on me. Stone does it again. If you can still find it, buy it.
10-10-2007 16:30:06 | More by Imstillthegman
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 5,081 ratings.