Arrogant Bastard Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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Arrogant Bastard AleArrogant Bastard Ale

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2,889 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,889
Hads: 9,862
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 381
Gots: 1,990 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 11-15-2000

This is an aggressive ale. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory–maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beverage will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make things taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this.

At Stone Brewing, we believe that pandering to the lowest common denominator represents the height of tyranny - a virtual form of keeping the consumer barefoot and stupid. Brought forth upon an unsuspecting public in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale openly challenged the tyrannical overlords who were brazenly attempting to keep Americans chained in the shackles of poor taste. As the progenitor of its style, Arrogant Bastard Ale has reveled in its unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity. There have been many nods to Arrogant Bastard Ale…even outright attempts to copy it… but only one can ever embody the true nature of liquid Arrogance!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,889 | Hads: 9,862
Photo of scottum
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What's better than a 22oz bottle of Arrogant Bastard? Finding Arrogant Bastard on tap! Sunset Bar and Tap in Allston had this on tap. I actually did not see it on the menu the first few times I looked because it is in the Amber Ale section. This is not an amber! anything that is a redish brown can not be an amber. The bartender told me that they stuck it there because they couldn't figure out where to put it. This beer is too good for clasification! Gotta love them hops! (475 characters)

Photo of sacfly
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby red color. Made me think of blood for some reason. Wonderfully sweet, fruity smell. Sweet beginning rapidly becomes an intense (but not too intense) bitterness. Nicely balanced. This place had a great selection of beer on tap, but I every time I looked the beer list over, I found myself ordering another Bastard. Goes down very easily. Maybe due to the slightly lower ABV for a IIPA? Hope it is as good in bottles. (425 characters)

Photo of mattsdenney
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz. bomber into NB globe glass.

A: Deep ruby red with a thick off-white head. Lots of lacing retention.

S: Hops, dried fruit, toasted malt, smoked cherry.

T: Perfect balance of smoky malts, dried fruit, toastiness, and a strong boozy hop finish.

M: Medium bodied, light carbonation, not too much of a lingering feel which doesn't overpower the taste.

O: Hands down one of my favorites. One of the best beers in the world. (441 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, the Bastard on Red/White/Blue day! SOB!! No wonder everyone raves about it – EXCELLENT ale! What a great caramel brown pour with creamy, foamy ivory head – purrty lacing! What aroma, citrus, pine, malts. TASTY quaff, malty, earthy with just a light touch of floral – just right! Oh, the smooth , light carbed, full bodied – hiding that 7.2 % amazingly well. Oh, crap, only 1 bomber of it. Gots to have more! (420 characters)

Photo of coffeybreak
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had heard about this brew from a friend of mine at work. He had met the owner of the brewery and told me that the breer was named appropriately. I found it on tap at my favorite bar. I thought I was ready for the intense flavor of this beer....I was wrong. The hops were intense and the citrus aroma was excellent. The malt helps to offset the inital assult of the hops to make it a well balanced brew. Not fot the faint of heart. (438 characters)

Photo of jmfc8237
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a-Love the bottle, the dark brown bottle and the funny warning on the back fits the name very well. Dark redish brown that has a sticky white head that retains itself pretty well. Slow carbonation though- I thought it would be a bit more frothy.

S- Wow. there is alot going on here, Alot of bready toast, and some choc. malt stands out. I even got a little raisin in the end too. Some sweet notes with alot of toffee and caramel notes.

T- BIG! really big. It scared me a little. I deff. have never had anyhting like this before. Tons of malt on the tongue that are crisp and toasty. Biscuity and browned bread flavors surrounded by a balance of hops that are not as apparent as the malt.

D/M- Big and strong beer that needs its respect. Deff. Enjoyed when you have nothing to do for awhile. (793 characters)

Photo of ElGeordie
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The dogs bollox.
I had a couple of (imperial) pints of AB at the British Beer Co in Walpole MA the other night.
I'm not really a big drinker of anything 6% ABV and above, but I'm glad I made an exception.
The beer travelled really well from CA to the East coast.
This is a mighty pint: it looks great just the way a beer should -clear medium amber colour with half an inch of creamy head.
I'm not one for smelling beer but I didn't notice anything untoward.
Arrogant Bastard is an all out assault on the taste buds: hops a plenty with multitudes of malty afternotes.
I'd like to try this for a full session (with a designated driver) the more I drank, the more I enjoyed it. It is a beer with so much depth and character, words can't do it justice.
Go out and get some - you won't regret it - at least until the next morning. (825 characters)

Photo of SSGPat
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am not worthy.

A: Lovely pour. Reddish brown in color. Nice head that dissipates quickly into a nice lace.

S: Hoppy with malty undertones. Better than crappy yellow rice beer.

T: Wonderful. Malty and hoppy. Yet very mellow A very bitter aftertaste lingers.


D: I could drink this beer all day and all night long, until I dropped to the ground because I'm not worthy. (407 characters)

Photo of car2052
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 22 oz. bomber to pint glass.

A: Clear, deep garnet/ ruby appearance. Big head that is tan. Not incredibly carbonated.
S: Piney hops and sweet bready malts. Notes of clove and cinnamon.
T: Up front there is dark toasted malt with coffee note, but is balanced by intense hop flavor of pine and grapefruit. Other citrus flavors like orange and peach come through in the middle of the palate. Ends with a powerful finish and aftertaste where you can taste dark grains and soapy hops. Very nice.
M: Medium. Hops and toasted malt really stick with you throughout the taste.
O: Great beer. Not for everyone. Essentially a Red IPA with powerful hop presence. Love it! (672 characters)

Photo of JonMich13
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A = Pours very dark copper brown. Small 1+ head that dies quick. Some light lacing throughout.

S = Aroma is not very noticeable, some light malt and hop hints. Nothing too distinguishable.

T = Very, very tasty. A luscious caramel/brown sugar malt sweetness jumps out in the start. A very strong grapefruit hop bitterness more than balances the taste through the end. A sincerely robust flavor experience here. Too much of either would be detrimental, but the arrogance of the front and back flavors balance out perfectly. You bastard!

M = Medium to thick, with very noticeable oily thickness. Just coats everything, letting you know who is boss here. Subtle carbonation.

D = Somehow drinkable despite the audacity of its flavors and mouthfeel. The 7.20% is well hidden.

Just a great, complex, balanced and robust brew and it will be a staple henceforth. I can't wait to grab double bastard and compare. (909 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Praise Bacchus that this great brew is finally available in Georgia! It pours a rich, semi-transparent, appetizing brown with a thick, tan, fine-bubbled head. Aroma is strong fiercely hoppy and has a pine undertone. Flavor is richly hoppy, a hops lover's dream; it is fairly but not harshly bitter and has just a whisper of sweetness. Texture is lively and tingly, and the aftertaste is hoppy and piny. (402 characters)

Photo of BrewRat
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

An outstanding beer! Poured from a bottle into a glass. This beer had a lovely caramel appearance and a nice head. The beer had a nice fruity aroma and what I would describe as a strong grapefriuty flavor. Very enjoyable stuff and justifiably arrogant! (252 characters)

Photo of Chadhowie
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is by far one of my favorite all time beers. The strength and fortitude of the hoppy full flavor makes this a perfect beer. It's no wonder that multiple variations have been and are attempted based on this beer. Pretty much all of those are excellent too. You can't go wrong with Stone! (291 characters)

Photo of griffinn
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: Deceptively ordinary dark ale. Some bottles possess the odd visible cluster of bitter yeast colonies floating about. Drink these, they're part of the experience.

S: A strange mystery alluding to the taste that is yet to come. It's hard to describe the number of smells clawing their way out of this beer, but it's safe to say that in spite of the intrigue they create, they are nothing compared to what you're about to experience. Indeed, that is the exact impression they give you.

T: A bizarre assault of bitterness and shockingly multi-layered flavor upon flavor, too many to be listed, several indescribable in modern English.

O: The Arrogant Bastard is a wonderful masterpiece of a booze that can only be enjoyed when the moon turns blue. True to the lengthy essay of a description slathered all over the back of every 22oz bottle (which wisely opens with the warning, "you probably won't like this beer,"), it is definitively an offensive, virtually undrinkable beer. It does not go well with any known food, nor does it really suit the palette of any known human on Earth.

That being said, it is truly a work of art, a dark sorcerer in the mouth that is truly great yet terrible, something instantly beloved yet despised for its harsh hoppy character and riveting but confusing enigma of flavors. This is a strong ale to be tasted and maybe even enjoyed, but cautiously respected. Quite simply, tasting it is like having your mouth ripped to pieces. It's the sort of thing everyone should definitely try at least once, just for the experience, so they can gain the tiniest understanding of what good beer should taste like, but it strikes me as being too far ahead of its time.

tldr; This is a great and powerful booze, but BE WARNED. You might not be ready. (1,773 characters)

Photo of Terp96
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Flying Sauce, Addison, TX for $2.50 a pint.

Pours a deep mahogony with a slightly off white head. The one finger thick head has excellent retention as evidenced by the extensive lacing down my glass.

Smell is ridiculous. I mean this in a fantastically complex way. You know from the first whiff that everything is there. A citrusy hop aroma with ripened, dark fruit. Bitter and sweet all wrapped up in one glass.

Taste is equally as fine. A syrupy sweetness of plum, raisins, fig??, followed by the hop bomb finish. This one is punishing but you come crawling back for another sip every time.

Mouthfeel is excellent as well. The syrupy sweetness lingers throughout and changes as you move down the glass. Very sweet at first but more finished and refined at the end. Conversly, the hop bitterness remains the same throughout. One of the most complex beers I have ever had.

The drinkability of this one is the only fault. This is a big beer and you get reminded of this often. I would say it is too complex to have as your regular beer. You want to savor this one and revisit it occassionally because I guarantee it will seem different everytime.

"Thank you sir. May I have another!!!" (1,216 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the best ways to get piss drunk. This is a tasty, bold ale that fills your mouth with hops and malt. Good lacing beautiful soft foam that lets you know the combination won't be too harsh. Enjoyed at Atlantic Beer Company in Boston. I'd heard a lot of hype about this beer, and it absolutely lived up to expectations. (331 characters)

Photo of m_hall
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Beer pours a clear, deep amber-brown with a thick, pillow-y two-finger tan head that falls slowly to a fillm, leaving copious sticky lacing.

This beer is extremely aromatic- even before actually nosing you'll pick up floral hops, bread, banana, and spicy/citric notes. Would make a wonderful air-freshener.

Flavor wise, the front end of beer has smooth, deep malt sweetness, rich, but not toasted.There is a subtle but discernible alcoholic warmth-it lets you know it's there, but it's well-harmonized with everything else that's going on. All this is offset by an ample wash of grapefruit-like hop bitterness, leading towards a dry finish. Very complex- every sip of this seems to be just a slight bit different than the last, especially as the beer warms in the glass. It's definitely an aggressive beer, as the label promises, but at the same time, very balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly oily, lingers in the mouth, almost like a good whiskey. Carbonation is fairly moderate.

Overall, this is a remarkable, fascinating beer... best way I could describe it is like a marriage of a Belgian Ale with an American IPA, and I think fans of either style could find a great deal to love here, with the rich malts skillfully set against aggressive hop bitterness. Powerful, challenging, but rewarding to those who can step up to it. We are not worthy, indeed. (1,408 characters)

Photo of Rumrunner
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle
Wowza!! I forgot what an all around powerful ale this one is.

It pours a deep copper color. Good head at first but not much retention. Some minor lacing. The scent is strong malty dark caramel. Some fruit bite and a toasted finish. Soak in the scents. Many to be had.

Flavors are numerous and bold. Burnt chocolate and roasted dark coffee. Caramel and then if that is not enough? Here come the deep floral hops to grab your taste buds and take them for a spin. The flavors of this ale take you on a journey. There is an alcohol essence but it only ads to the ride.

A nice medium bold mouthfeel. It drinks well. There is a bite feeling to this ale. I truly enjoyed the bite. I could not drink this on a daily basis but for a nice swift kick in the taste buds it will do nicely. (800 characters)

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from a liquor store in Nashua, NH. Pours a hazy copper-red body with a good half-inch of off-white head. Smells amazing, juicy, citrusy, piney hops at the forefront with malt in the background. Tastes citrusy and piney with a fair bit of caramel and toffee malt to back it up. On the lighter side of moderate carbonation with a body bordering on viscous, slick. A plethora of pleasant tastes all balanced perfectly. Rich slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is hardly detectable until you start to feel the warmth. What a magnificent beer. Glad I'll be able to get this a bit more often. (587 characters)

Photo of Act25
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Leffe Chalice.

A - Beautiful mahogany, ruby, red-brown. Much darker than amber. Tan, deep, dense finger of head, which lasts and laces in a picture perfect arc around the glass. Near perfect look. Devilish color, dark but clear.

S - Completely superior to every other strong ale I have tried. First, it's hoppier than malty, followed by biscuit, fruit, raisin, earth, dirt . Hints of citrus peel. Esters and alcohol as expected in 7.2% ABV. Complex meditation beer, without being strange or wobbly.

T- Unlike Scottish or strong ales, there's more of a double IPA feel. Roasty maltiness first, followed by a wash of bitter hops to complete the arc. More of a strong, deep, sweet DOUBLE IPA. IPA drinkers will like this, the hop finish lingers and is powerful and leaves your mouth content.

It finishes sweet, with caramel, coffee, chocolate, and toffee, and sweet grass... Which plays balance with the hop bitterness. Without any cloying or over done sweetness, tho, it's woody and nutty all the way. This is my first taste of a perfectly balanced Strong Ale.

M - Medium to full bodied, well carbonated. Nicely balanced, great finish. Leaves your mouth in a great place, great finish to the evening. End on the ABA. Wet & oily from hops.

O - This is a peak beer experience, 1 to take if you get banished to the moon.

PS - I have come back to ABA 3x since my review and every time it's perfectly consistent, and I've tried the oaked ABA - also great and in your face. Stone & ABA are top experiences. Must try. (1,549 characters)

Photo of Todd
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a silk screen painted label of the "Stone Brewing Gargoyle" which wards off impurities that would otherwise taint the sanctity of the brew. Though this gargoyle is a bit different ... he has an arrogant look to him, basically saying you are not worthy of this brew. The back of the label is freagin' halarious! More arrogance, teasing. No, double dog daring you to try the beer.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown in colour with an appealing off-white lace. Really frothy, sticky and retains remarkably well.

Smell: Coarse hop are all over the nose, as are toasted grains, fruity esters and alcohol. Very aromatic.

Taste: Medium bodied, yet rich, full and complex. Smooth, especially as it warms. Big malty sweetness with caramel, chocolate and toasted/roasted flavours. Alcohol prickliness teases the palate then the brew kicks its ass with an assertive hop profile. It's raw, coarse, a bit prickly itself, mildly rind-like. Helps to balance the huge malt flavours. Finishes with a lingering sweetness, caramel, roasted coffee. A bit grain/dry too.

Notes: Hugely complex. Its arrogance is indeed correct. As stated on the label, if you do not have the "taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth" then you may not like it. Or rather, go drink your safe beer wimp. It's rather aggressive, but oh so damn good (in an evil, not worthy way). Just beware before you drink. This beer is not for the faint of heart. (1,494 characters)

Photo of PRpitmaster
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark red amber color with a nice thick, healthy head.
nice roasted malt aroma and sweet caramel, with a great citrus hop tone, reminded me of a very bitter grapefruit.
the grapefruit citrus flavor carries on to the taste, with a lingering malty aftertaste, with a nice hoppy kick. very nice dry finish, great beer, hope to get my hands on some more. (357 characters)

Photo of rgrace99
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Big, thick head with lots of lacing. Color was a deep red almost brown and translucent. Aroma was like walking through a pine forest. Taste was a wonderful, sweet malt taste with a strong hop presence in the back of the throat, finishing with a strong hop bitterness. Very easy to put down but dangerous to put back more than one with the high ABV. Awesome, awesome beer! (412 characters)

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I did not want to like this beer. Everyone raved about it and I thought "so what?" I picked up a bottle, and read the label, "you're not worthy." "And you are?", I thought. It poured dark amber with a nice head. The first sip was exhillerating. I was not quite prepared for this. Mega hops and a BOLD taste. I thought, "this will soon subside." It didn't. The last drink tasted just like the first. I killed the bottle an about an hour and a half. A 22oz usually lasts me 30 minutes if it is my first. Not this time. I enjoyed and savored every gulp. When I finished, I could drink no more. I had only bought one bottle and all my other beers were, "not worthy". (662 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Produces a quarter inch off white head when poured into the snifter. The initial head soon recedes, altough some bubble-fed atolls of carbonation remain. A simple swirl or two is all it takes to revive the head. A small amount of this carbonation clings to the sides of the glass as it is drained. The color of the beer is a very dark amber or mahogany color with quite an amount of red showing through.

The first thing I notice is not only the wonderful abundance floral hops, but how well they are balanced with that sweet, toasty malt. The odor progresses from more malt character to more bitterness over the course of a single sniff. Plenty of sweet fruit aromas linger in the background...including pineapple, plums, red bananas, and tropical fruits. The hop characteristic is great...pleasantly bitter and fragrant all at once.

This one is medium to medium high in carbonation. The bubbles of CO2 are small and delicate and do not impart the effervesence usually associated with this level of carbonation. The body is medium with a slight slickness.

The hops and the malt do their work on the tastebuds at the same time, but the hops are unquestionably at the forefront here. That is not to say that there isn't enought malt to counter the hops, however, because there is. In the background are flavors of tropical fruits. The hops behave somewhat strangely on the tongue. After the initial hop rush, they subside considerably...revealing more of the malty and fruity flavors present. Then, coming out of nowhere, the hops again make themselves known in the form of a very long and bitter finish with some toasted malt hiding way in the back. The long lasting hop bitterness eventually kicks the proverbial ass of everything else to become the last remnant of this formidable liquid.

An extremely complex beer. Resinous, piney hops abound on both the nose and palate...but with a nice malt characteristic as well. A must-try. I'm feeling a little loose after the entire bomber...though the alcohol is not otherwise evident. This one sat in the 55 degree F cellar for slightly over two months after I purchased it. If hops are as good a preservative as I think they are, I'd like to be embalmed with this stuff when I kick the bucket. (2,252 characters)

Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,889 ratings.