21st Amendment / Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 233 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DefenCorps:
3.98/5 rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Thank you, Andy!
As I pour it, I can see that this beer is dark brown, but it sits black in my glass, capped with a large dark brown head with great retention.
The nose is interesting. Heavily kilned malts are immediately noticeable with a robust roasty bitterness in a way that makes me think of an imperial stout. Behind that is a rather fruity character, a little nutty too - probably the figs? Certainly spicy, this reminds a bit of black cardamom, coriander and some strange spice that I've cooked with a few times (I only know it as "that brown, stick-like thing", and no, it's not cinnamon. Looking at the label, I'm told it's a blend of pink peppercorns, fennel seeds and chia seed. Oh well. Still, this smells quite interesting. As it warms, it gains a cocoa character.
The palate opens with a blend of peppery spice, the characteristic earthiness of black cardamom, or in this case, chia seed? and a moderate grainy bitterness with a robust roast character. I really can't taste the figs, apart from a general fruit character that one could ascribe to a Belgian yeast. For a beer that could be a clusterfuck, this is actually quite well balanced, with the grain and spices playing off each other quite well. Hops appear mid-palate with a moderate pine character. Drying on the finish with a lingering bitterness, both pine y hops and grain in nature, there's a delicate, earthy spice present. Medium-light in body, this is a lot more carbonated than I'd like. The flavors, though, are very, very enjoyable, I really dig the hop character in this beer, especially how it complements the spices, something that's rather rare IMO. An enjoyable beer, I'm glad I got to try it.
Serving type: bottle
06-16-2010 01:20:18 | More by DefenCorps
More User Reviews:
3.74/5 rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Opaque, dark brown color showing scant ruby-tinted light transmission at the edges; with over two fingers of beige foam head that takes its time to collapse down. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.
S: Strong wild yeast character, more band-aid than goat pasture. Dried, concentrated chile fruit is also detected, lending some minor dark qualities. Raw and rustic bitter chocolate is just barely evident. No alcohol is detected.
T: Begins off-dry, with dark syrupy fruit that appears as a mix of cherry/currant and New Mexico chiles (without the heat). This is also where the yeast-funk seems to be most noticeable--but never off-putting. The transition from fruit and overt yeast to mild refined roast is gradual during the middle. It is about mid-profile, only after the roasted malt has emerged, that a pruney-Dr. Pepper vibe also is hinted at. The finish is relatively sparse and dry, herbaceous and bitter, with just a huff of the characterful yeast. No alcohol is detected.
M: Medium to thick viscosity, smooth and slightly warming on the palate, with low carbonation.
D/O: Strong, dark, and experimental, this collaboration beer is unexpectedly loaded with yeast phenolics. Audacious fermentation metabolites, whether authentic or imagined due to the unconventional combination of ingredients, is not unwelcome in the fairly crowded profile of sensory qualities. Chile qualities abound, despite it's never having glimpsed a chile during fermentation. In the final tally it may not be a world-beating ale, but its illusory tricks prove titillating.
Serving type: bottle
05-24-2013 02:21:02 | More by beagle75
21st Amendment / Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.