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Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,888 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,888
Hads: 5,845
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 18.33%
Wants: 290
Gots: 777 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 09-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,888 | Hads: 5,845
Photo of BJA
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter

A: The beer is black but not quite ebony. Some light makes it through when you’re viewing it from an angle (and through a small section of the beer; a half inch or so). I got ¼ inch of head on a medium pour. Head is tan, a little creamy and it dissipated in 60 to 90 seconds.

S: I get lightly roasted malt scent followed by fresh flowery hops. There seems to be a hint of dark chocolate and coffee along with an alcohol scent that became much more apparent after the first sip.

T: The roasted malt makes more of an appearance and mixes with the hops in an interesting way. It seems to mute the hops a bit and creates a bitter, roasted black coffee taste with the alcohol a bit too heavy.

M: This is a medium bodied beer. The carbonation is fitting. It has a longer finish. It leaves a bitter roasted coffee aftertaste on the roof of my mouth and the back of my tongue.

O: I have always found this beer to be like a roasted, more alcoholic arrogant bastard. I enjoy it every once in a while, but it’s not in my regular rotation like many other stone offerings. It is a really interesting beer to me though. The hop bitterness and roasted malt interaction is cool. I don’t find the beer as bitter as the IBUs testify. I wonder if this beer is best fresh. I wonder if aging this in oak barrels would be beneficial in bringing out some flavor. I definitely find it too heavy on the alcohol in scent and taste.

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Photo of Spider889
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Review taken from VIP tasting seminar at the Columbus Beer Fest.

After having just tasted the Founder's El Diablo del Noche I was expecting a lot from Stone's new black IPA. Unfortunately the balance and finesse was lacking in this brew.

Poured very dark like a mocha porter. Smelled almost entirely of fresh strong hops. There were the normal oily hop notes and mild citrus aromas of massive amounts of dry hopping. I personally didn't detect any roasted malts here.

The taste is of a pure and utter hop bomb. My first thought was - "my god this is hoppier than Ruination!" If I remember correctly the Stone rep claimed that they don't like to release the actual number of ibus on this one because once you get to a certain point most palates can't tell the difference anyways. In any case, this is to this day the hoppiest beer I have ever tasted.

Mouthfeel was hot and prickly from the hop bitterness.

Drinkability was really low. I would struggle through a whole pint of this I fear, and I love IPAs. If you want a hop bomb then this beer is for you. If you want something with the complexity that a black IPA would suggest then I would recommend trying something else.

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Photo of beersabound
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a toughy to review b/c what is a American Strong Ale, really? Anyways, it is very dark brown on the edges with a dark center and that is is where the center of darkness ends. The aroma is hops with some licorice, roasted malt and alcohol thrown in.

The flavor is bitter up front with a bit roasted malt and alcohol again followed up by some resiny hop flavor. Tasty and mouth pleasing for sure but the alcohol flavor detracts a bit for me.

It's medium full bodied with a full mouthfeel. It's not velvety at all but not unpleasant or chalky at all. It's drinks wel lbut not something I'd pair with food. I tried it with some beef ribs and plowed over the ribs and sauce and said "So, what's next?"

Ballsy concept with good follow through. I like it but not love it.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.52/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of opwog
3.52/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Listening to: Murda Corner - Oh No You Did't

A- Looks black, but in actuality is just a deep dark brown when held up to moderate light. Brownish thick head that leaves a rather thick disc while drinking all the way through.
S- Hops floated up to my nose as I poured it. It smells like an imperial IPA, but I was not catching the dark roast in the smell.
T- roasted malt, mild coffee, some choolate in the aftertaste
M- creamy, almost stout like. Carbonation looked like it might be high when I pured this, but it was actually a nice balance with a thicker body.
D- This si actually a decent drinking dark IPA. I would like to see more breweries experimenting with this.

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Photo of bheilman
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darker than anything I've ever had from Stone minus their imperial stout. I was expecting a little lighter color. It's nearly porter in color, but a little bit lighter, sort of red. The head was nice and stayed around for a while. The taste was good with a bitter old ale flavor. It reminds me a bit of the german alt style. It is a little fruity with hops but mostly exhibitsa solid malt flavor; caramel, raisin, with a bite of peppery spice. There is very little hops in the scent. It barely has any scent at all, but definitely more malt than hops. The aftertaste is good, and the beer is smooth. I would not guess the alcohol content as the bite is minimal compared to some beers over 8%. Not my favorite Stone, but worth a try, especially if you like this style.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is my first review of a black IPA. 22oz bomber poured into chalice. "Enjoy by 2/24/12."

A- Very nice dark mud/black color with a thick khaki head

S- Hops attack! Floral, grapefruit, and pine shine strong. Subtle chocolate notes are present. Dark fruit esters also contribute... almost similar to a quad in a unpinning way.

T- Kind of awkward and mismatched. A bit too light on the malts... I was hoping for a darker, hoppier arrogant bastard actually. It is however very good and the only example of a black IPA I've ever tasted so I will take it easy for now. This may actually taste a little better and balance out more even if it sits a few months past its prime.

M- Very flavorful and kind. The hop bitterness is always welcome and the roastiness is great too, as it kind of sticks around.

D- Drinkability is kind of poor due to the lack of balance... this however may just be indicative of this 1st BIPA review. Alcohol isn't too bad and it is kind of warming!

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Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was my review of the bottle version:

I liked this beer a lot but didn't really see why Stone made it. They have a number of strong ales, some weaker (Arrogant Bastard), some stonger (Double Bastard). This beer is a little darker in color than both and I think a little less hoppy. It's also darker.

I would definitely get it again but just don't understand why they're introducing this style.


It wasn't the best beer I'd had. Not interesting enough to justify the high Alcohol by volume and too strong to drink as a refresher.

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Photo of zdk9
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not really sure what the big deal about this beer is, a decent IPA, not really noticing any details from the dark malts.

A- Pours an extreamly dark brown, almost midnight purple. A fingers worth of clumpy light tan head decorates the top of the beer and leaves some nice spidery lacing.

S- Sweet tangerine and orange gush out of this beer to my nose. Maybe a touch of carmel but not much besides the citrus, though I can find some alcohol with some deep sniffs.

T- A hops forward beer with orangy notes dominating the taste. Again as in the nose there is a hint of carmel malt but really it's all hops. In the aftertaste I notice perhaps a slight hint of dust or dirt flavor.

M- Somewhat syrupy, though not overly so. Bitterness is nicely balanced with some sweetness.

D- There is a fine taste in this beer but it isn't mind boggling just hops hops and some hops. While I notice the balance in terms of bitter/sweet, I'm hard pressed to detect any malt flavor in the nose or taste. I liked this beer but not enough for the price and not that special for an anniversary beer.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

taste- roasted malts, sweet, well-balanced hop/malt finish, sour toast

color- chestnut, deep brown

clarity- appears clear but too hard to tell because it's dark

smell- roasted malt, chocolate

body- medium-length finish

appearance- flat with a little off-white ring of carbonation

notes and comments- i wouldn't characterize this as a double ipa as it was billed at the festival

beer spy- double ipa festival, bistro, hayward ca, 2/12/11, 6 oz. glass

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Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tastes like stone!

Appearance: Blacker than I expected, a bit of mahogany brown to it. Small head on the pour, no lacing.
Smell: Piney hops but too much dark malt, fair amount of bitterness.
Taste: Not as strong as I expected, big malt backbone. Might have a touch of tea to it? I can't tell these Stone beers apart, had this with the 13th and felt they were remarkably similar. Perhaps some dates/prunes and a touch of chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and Oily
Drinkability: Average for the brewery.

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Photo of kcopelan002
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving- bottle to pint glass
Appearance- A thin tan head. Dark black and Opaque
Taste- very bitter hops at the beginning. some hints of malt.
Smell- Strong hoppy smell
Mouthfeel- moderate carbonation
Overall- the has a very overpowering hop taste. which made it hard for me to taste everything else. It is a good beer overall.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Black as night. Nice small, thick head that leaves lots of lacing behind as you drink it.

S- Alcohol smell with chocolate and coffee notes. Also there is a big hop smell as well.

T- Big in hop and alcohol flavor. i can also detect a small coffee taste. After liking my lips right after a sip, I taste a bitter, burnt chocolate flavor. This beer could use a little warming up as it is a lot smoother as it does.

M- Mouthfeel is solid. A little thicker than thin, but I like that.

D- Drinkability is better as it warms up a bit. But the big alcohol taste makes me only want to stay at one of these bad boys.

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Photo of Neecee513
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured bottle into pint glass.

A: Black, with tan head that leaves some lacing on the glass, good retention.

S: Pine and citrus notes.

T: Grapefruit and citrus, bit of toasted backbone masked by substantial hop bitterness.

M: Medium body and carbonation, bitter and dry on the finish.

D: Very good, but hops can overwhelm at times. I paired with a Gouda, which was pleasing.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Smell just like pineapple orange mango juice blend, with perhaps a few marijuana branches thrown in. Pure genius hop aroma really. A bit of foreign malt lingers, raspberry chocolate, intoxicating coffee liqeur whispers from the deep.

Taste comes on somehow welcome but profoundly surprising. The palate leaps from mango-sweet anticipation to roasty malt-blanketed hop shadows. It's like they took the horror of a rotting DIPA and crossed it with an English porter, with none too much attention paid to either.

Stone is certainly a distinctive brewer. One recognizes their way with hops and malt immediately, and in this case it's a good thing. Few brewers bridge that gap successfully, but Stone manages to straddle it right between "OMG do they make IPA?" and "AW SHI where the BARLEYWINE AT?". Fortunately, these assholes make both.

Good job Stone, I applaud your diction.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours completely black with one and a half finger of light khaki colored head. The foam takes quite a bit to fade, and a nice rocky layer of small and large bubbles lines the top of the beer and the glass. Great lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is big citrus and floral hops mixed with a solid helping of roasted malt. It actually smells quite good for a Black IPA.

T: It starts out with a mix of sweet and bitter right away. I get vanilla, toasted bread, citrus, and licorice. It a mix of all sorts of flavors. It's hoppy and bitter, sweet and malt, roasty bitter, and just all over the place.

M: Medium bodied beer. It coats the palate from the first sip with a smoothness and that lasts all thew way through the finish. It dries up a little bit in the finish, but not much.

O: I hate this beer. I'm not a fan of Black IPAs to begin with, and this beer is exactly why I don't like them. The flavors don't mingle well together. It's too bitter (but not in super hopped up way). I just don't get this style. I may never buy another Black IPA ever again. Serious.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this still on the shelf at a shop in Ypsilanti when I was up for the summer beer fest.

Poured into a nonic pint.
A- Pours with almost no head rising up. What does bubble up gathers into a brown pillow in the center. The beer is very very dark brown. Its like a porter or stout. There are some garnet edges but mostly its all black in the glass. No lacing not great head retention.

S- Now-a-days XI is smelling quite like some Belgian strong darks. Malty, caramelly, dark fruity.

T- Up front its similar to some Belgian strong darks too. Comes in malty smooth, woody, raisin-y and chocolaty. Whats left of the hops comes in at the finish with a very piney profile. The hop bitterness lingers.

M- Medium high carbonation, medium full body. Id assume when this was new having more bitterness would make it seem less smooth, but after 2 years its almost creamy.

D- Good drinkability. Low bitterness, just enough to create complexity.

In all this was a pretty sweet little secret I found up in Ypsi.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A nice bubbly tan head sits atop the dark opaque beer.

Smells were earth, burnt caramel, pine, and grass.

The taste was decent. I'll be flogged for this I'm sure, but I'm generally not much of a Stone fan. I like their IPA, but that's pretty much the only one I come back to from time to time. This beer was no exception. It had a nice burnt caramel malt and molases taste, and a dry lingering bitterness. But the rest of it reminded me of every other Stone brew I've had. In a way that's good due to brand recognition in the taste, but in a way it's also bad. It feels tired and uninspired to me. I'd like to see Stone (and a few other breweries out there) mix things up and experiment with more than just the malts. It seems to me (and I'm going just on taste, not on recipes) that this brewery and a few others stick to the same hop and/or yeast formulas.

There, I guess that's out of my system. I like their IPA a lot though. This... Meh. It's not by any means a bad brew, it's not something I would deter anyone from trying, just not something I'd go back to since I feel like I can pick up just about any Stone brew (barring their RIS) and get the same taste. I like it their IPA the best.

This review is all over the place I think I'm gonna leave it at that.

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Photo of mynie
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Black Sparrow, billed as a Black IPA because, well, Sparrow customers know that some beers is wheat and some is pilsners and others is IPAs.

Pours like a thick, fluffy stout. Big white head. The body looks black until you hold it up to a light and it's like those Crows candies, it's actually a really deep shade of green that looks black. Pretty cool.

Smells agressive. Big, giant west coast hops. Big, bitter, syrupy malt. There's some nice nodes here, but also some stuff that's unpleasantly intense and really the balance is kind of off.

Aaaand it tastes pretty much like it smells: interesting, but hugely offbalanced. There's some herbs thrown in there, along with the big giant alpha of citrusy west coast hops. That's nice. The whole front half is excellent, actually, but then in the back it's a thick, syrupy malt that's just not all that great. Overall there's a lot more good than bad but the bad still spoils much of the good.

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black, as the style would suggest. Tan head retains extremely well.

Hops overwhelm the bouquet. Smells piney, woodsy, almost like a natural fir.

Extreme flavor - hops, hops, hops, alcohol, hops. Really, there's nothing more to it, which is why I wouldn't classify this beer as extraordinary. I can see already a few sips in, how this could get redundant almost. It's like biting copper.

As the heaviness will eventually settle in, the acids kind of wear the palate out. It's extremely flavorful, it blasts the tastebuds, so again, I marked it kind of low in this respect. It offers nothing but the same flavor over and over, there's almost no complexity in my opinion.

High in alcohol and volume, I wouldn't expect more than one would not suffice, unless you're a hophead and you'd like to get tanked. Not my cup o' tea.

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Photo of MisterClean
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stone night at the Grad in Davis:

A - Dark lack pour with a 2 fngered head. Dissipates to 1 fingered head and sticks around. Beautiful lacing.

S - Dark roast coffee. Wish I could smell more, but no.

T - Dark roast coffee and light alcohol.

M - Very smooth, little aclohol in the mouthfeel.

D - Good, but needs more hoppiness and flavor.

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Photo of cokes
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The darkest of ruby hues. Virtually black unless back-lit. A pillowy, moderately thick rise of buttercreme suds sticks around a bit before sagging into the ooze, and it laces well even afterward.
The aroma is largely pine. Char, ash, cocoa, and coffee gain traction over time. There are some interplay moments that suggest spearment, vanilla,black cherry and burnt peach. Those are the most interesting, but also the most repressed.
My first impression is probably my most accurate: This tastes like someone extinguished a cigar and/or dumped spent coffee grounds into a pint of Ruination. The roasty, smoky, ashy, blackness of this beer is at odds with the singularly piney bitter aspects of the hopping. There are teases of earth, black cherry, caramel, toast, wintergreen. But at its heart, it's char and pine. And nothing else matters.
The blanketing body is lightened by the steady trickles of CO2. The build could hardly be more appropriate.
But this doesn't do a thing for me. Out of whack, off-balanced, and simple-seeming to boot.
I love hoppy porters and stouts when there is some sense of cohesion between the big malt and hop flavors, but that's altogether absent here.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: This Black IPA pours out a dark brown color with a couple fingers of light brown, slightly dirty looking head. Retention is pretty good and lacing is nice.

Smell: Roasted dark malts, a bit of caramel, and plenty of citrus and piney hops. Seems pretty spot on for the style.

Taste: Of course there is plenty of roasted and dark malts up front, with some caramel as well. On the back end there is plenty of citrus and piney hops. Usually I am a big fan of Stone's hop profiles, but this one doesn't do much for me.The flavors really seem to clash a bit.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is between light and medium bodied, and pretty smooth drinking. Overall this is a good example of of a Black IPA, but the flavor profile is just a bit off. Still, not a bad beer.

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Photo of sellmeagod
3.42/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A monster of taste and aggression!

Stone always does the image thing well and they have the bold flavors to back it up. The dark dark pour with no head is expectedly awesome. There is some bitterness and a hoppy smell, but most of this is controlled but the other dark and roasted flavors.

A bit much to down at 22oz of this. But, Stone even admits that there is no point in disagreeing with this beer - it is Self-Righteous for its own sake.

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,888 ratings.