Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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4.03/5 rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Let me start off by admitting that I am not a big fan of Arrogant Bastard. It was actually the beer that got me into Stone, but in retrospect, it's probably one of my least favorites of their offerings. I appreciate the whole "You're Not Worthy" bitterness concept, but I'll go ahead and compromise my own masculinity by saying that I guess I'm not worthy because it's just a bit too bitter for me to really enjoy it...at least until I'm about halftway through the bottle and the alcohol starts to cushion the blow.
Nonetheless, as soon as I heard that the Oaked Bastard was available in bottles (which occurred less than a week ago in my neighborhood), I had to have some. I now have two six-packs of the stuff, and I'm hoping I made a wise investment.
I poured the contents of my first bottle into my trusty Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass. The liquid was a deep, rich mahogany, too dark to be transparent yet perfectly clear, with a substantially tall and dense tan head that settled to about a finger's width. I swirled the glass a couple of times and the head retention was perfect.
This being the second oaked beer I've reviewed (the first being Old Yeti Oaked Imperial Stout), I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but sure enough, the odor was very similar. The smell conjured the image of being in a field of oak trees after a heavy rainstorm. More simply: wet wood. A hint of malt and even a glimpse of sweetness was also present. The overall experience was fairly appealing, but I wasn't sure how well it would translate to my taste buds.
After my first sip, I was not disappointed. Where the effects of alcohol were once required to "cushion the blow" of the bitterness of this brew, the oak aging and flavor now did the job. I could taste the gentle oak flavor up front. This was quickly chased by the trademark bitterness of the Bastard. However, whereas the normal Bastard has a tendency to burrow its way into my tongue and make me feel like someone just jammed a handful of pine needles into my tongue and then poured grapefruit juice into the wound, the oakiness seemed to leave a protective coating that provided enough of a blockade to stave off the hoppy attack while being subtle enough for my taste buds to enjoy the flavor. It's not the bitterness of the Bastard that puts me off, it's the fact that it won't go away. I could take three sips of Arrogant Bastard and the taste would linger for ten minutes. I'd rather have a chance to recover and then pummel my taste buds again at my own pace, and this Oaked variety enables me to do that.
I still can't say this is one of my favorite Stone beers: I prefer the refreshing quality of their IPA or the complexity of their Old Guardian, Ruination, or Imperial Russian Stout. I will qualify this by saying that I don't really have a basis of comparison as far as what an American Strong Ale should taste like, so I can't judge to style. I can appreciate it for what it is, though, and I will have an easy time spreading out my consumption of these over the next several months or even years and seeing how the experience evolves.
Serving type: bottle
11-07-2006 02:54:08 | More by instrumentality
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Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 4,421 ratings.