Arrogant Bastard Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arrogant Bastard AleArrogant Bastard Ale

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9,801 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,801
Reviews: 2,966
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.26%
Wants: 373
Gots: 1,929 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,801 | Reviews: 2,966
Photo of Brian700
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks mtnlover for sending me this to try for my first time. I've been waiting a long time to get my hands on a bottle. This beer poured a deep amber color with a mocha colored head that stuck around and was very creamy. It almost looked like it had the consistencey of whipped cream. Yum. The nose has is slightly hoppy with a phenolic twist (slightly band-aid). It's a good aroma, I like it. The taste is malty sweet with a generous hop bite. The hop addition is just right. Good mouthfeel. Full bodied beer with moderate carbonation. This is a good drinkable beer. I can't wait to get my hands on some more of this. I highly recommend. As if its reputation doesn't speak for itself.

Photo of tomthumbsblues
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have eyed this beer for a while and almost bought it once, but finally decided to give it a try. I definitely wasn't let down. This Arrogant Bastard appeared as a three-finger tannish foamy headed beast atop a deep rich reddish brown beer. Aromas of hops--earthy and grassy--were detected along with a hint of cinnamon, brown sugar or possibly maple syrup. A caramel smooth sort of taste yields to quality savory hopping in the aftertaste. This was a smooth and balanced beer. The best I've had in a while.

Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful clear crimson brew with brown highlights and a sticky tan head that was very thick and left nice belgian lace on the pint glass. The aroma is of a nice mild yet spicy hop aroma which has tinges of pine but not much. The flavor is very nice as it begins with a smooth rich malty flavor that is a touch toasted but more carmelized which segues into a delcious hop flavor that combines the spiciness of the aroma hops with the grapefruity, sharp bitterness of high alpha hops and finshes in a lingering bitterness. Smooth bodied this beer is a pleasure to drink and the rich mouthfeel complements the hops but the high alcohol is hidden quite well until you stand up.

Photo of chrisms86
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had high expectations for this beer after hearing so much about it from other beer drinkers. Had a pleasant malty flavor. Added hops make me think that this beer is what would happen if one mixed the spices of an IPA with a syrupy stout. The 7.2% alcohol goes unnoticed in the taste.

My complaint with this beer was its mouthfeel. I liked the thickness, but it was too the syrupy nature of this brew is not a positive attribute. I recommend this strong ale but for the money there are many better options.

Photo of OatherS
3.19/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Big 1pt6oz bottle with no label but a devil drinking a beer printed on the bottle.

A: Not much head, nice dark amber color.

S: Hops very present.

T: Hoppy and sneeze inducing flavor. Bitter as well. Very strong flavor.

M: Fine.

D: I can understand why that this is a highly ranked beer, but I personally do not think highly of this beer.

Photo of Vancer
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

Photo of DogFood11
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance was great, big frothy head and dark rich color...Inviting. Smell was a bit alcohol but also mad hops.

It has a sweet side to the malts but for the most part its earthy and coffee undertones. Hops are mad, crazy, insane and off the charts especially towards the finish. Not too sweet like some chocolate type beers just a nice bitter hop and an added bitterness from the burnt malts.

Notes: Once again another winner from Stone Brewing. I get the sense that they trial run beers for years because when they release a beer it is refined. Winner. Very complex offering with a nice malt depth alongside bigtime overhopping. Although this is not a sessioner it recieves plenty of attention at this household.

Photo of Viggo
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown, almost ruby red, eggnog coloured head that sticks everywhere. Smells like sweet malt, but tempered with a floral hoppiness. Taste is sweet up front with a floral and citrusy hoppy middle, and a nice bitter finish. Very balanced beer, very full and a caramel maltiness thats very pleasant. Thanks DrJay.

Photo of Bierschenker
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mzwolinski for flying it over!
It pours in a nice dark red ale with a thick creamy head. The head has some brownness.
I poured it in an octagonal Hoegaarden glass.
I was surprised by the smell, I really think it resembles rebarber pie. A sweet sugary vegetable odour.
The taste is (luckily) less overpowering than the Stone IPA. It does have some similar elements. The taste of the used hops for example. It has a very strong dry caramel malt experience. No trace at all of yeast, spices or fruits. Just the peculiar vegetal flavour.
The aftertaste keeps a very strong hop bitterness and malt taste. That is preceded by a striking vegetable juice tone.
Very full bodied beer, new experience for me, but nothing special.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat!

Photo of cracgor
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby hues. A very small head forms, but remains and is velvety smooth. Sticks readily to the glass.

Smell: An oily hop and nutty aroma. Very fruity.

Taste: Very oily hops. A nutty aftertaste. Sweet and fruity. I don't understand the label, I LOVE this...and I'm probably not that sophisticated either.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. A little astringent. A bit of warming after swallowed, but any alcohol taste is hidden.

Drinkability: Very good and drinkable. This beer is much better than I expected, and I expect a lot from stone.

Photo of charlatan
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from a 22oz bottle. It has a reddish chestnut hue and a generous head. It smells predominantly of blackcurrant with maybe a hint of vinegar, liquorice and blackberry.

This tastes wonderful. First I notice a treacle/liquorice flavour and then a sweet berry rush fills my mouth and the carbonation seems to make it explode in slow motion before giving way to the treacle malt flavour and then leaving a subtle, but acrid liquorice infused hoppy aftertaste. That sounds like something that would make you sick, but I swear it's marvellous.

Good stuff, but you'll only need one bottle.

Photo of Naes
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with dense tan head that has wonderful lacing.

S: Fruity, almost like a citrus, yet hints of hops surface as well.

T: This ale starts off sweet and finishes with a wonderful bitter flavor of hops. Just before the bitterness hits, you can detect its alcohol on the palate. The initial flavor matches the aroma quite well, but that aftertaste was unexpected and definitely makes this beer. If you like hops, this is one of those must tries.

M: For such a bitter beer, it is very smooth.

D: Very drinkable, but be forewarned; its 7.2% alcohol could definitely turn you into an arrogant bastard, if overdone.

Photo of Litterbean
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gotta say, I love this beer. Have had it many, many times, and it always satisfies.

It pours a deep ruby red, with a tawny head that looks like it's sprinkled with cinnamon. Great head retention, it looks pillowy.

The smell is inviting and powerful. A blend of deep, warming sweetness with a twangy hoppiness that both intermingle and form an extreme yet balanced aroma.

Taste is rather malty at first, a sort of bready warmth to it. Some medicinal flavors in there, along with a noticeable alcohol heat to it. The hops are bitter and very abundant, but not in a way that it will offend you. If you are offended by this, you are not worthy, as the bottle states. Grapefruit is the most prominent flavor I can pick out, but there is also a good amount of sweet syrupy goodness. Other fruits and other sweets are also in there, but this brew is very complex and I'm sure this beer has different meanings for different people.

Good smooth mouthfeel, a bit of carbonation, and a whole lot of a punch for your tongue. Very easy to drink, despite the high alcohol. I'd love to sip this all day and get slowly buzzed. A real warmer but still refreshing on a hot day.

Photo of NolanGTI
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE: I have now had this about 5 times since my original review and have found the beer to be much better than my initial review (which had a few 3.5's in it). Funny how a few more sittinggs with a beer and you can catch a lot more of it's subtleties.

Wow, I am really torn on this beer. I hadn't had it in awhile and at first I was in love, it looked so incredible coming out of the bomber, truly a work of art. More (sustainable) head than I was expecting and a great amber ale color.

The smell let me down some, I was waiting for something more than what I got here. It was just sort of flat, not a ton there. (edit: I should note that I think I drank this a t a bit colder temp than I should have which probably inhibited some of the aromatics of this beer)

My second letdown was the taste. This is a beer I really liked, but I think my expectations were a little out of whack based on the rep. I have a bit of trouble scoring this beer based on that initial reaction. All in all, this was a nice bold hoppy beer that did not bowl you over with alcohol taste or smell.

I classify this as a very good, but just short of great beer. I may need a few more bombers before I can say for sure, but I think this will be put into light rotation for me.

Photo of blitz134
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice thick off white/light tan head which bloomed quite voracisouly upon pouring. A nice 1/4" layer stuck around for the entire session and left the thickest lacing I have ever seen on any beer. Body was a transparent deep garnet red. I was gonna give a 4.5 for the appearance, but I'm really amazed at the lacing and head retention on this.

Smell has a fairly strong hop presence which includes a good deal of grapefruit. Also included was a good bit of caramel candy sweet malt backbone. Subtle hints of fresh fruits were also present including tangerine.

The taste is hard to define for me. It definately finishes well with a bitter hit of resin hops. There is a good spiciness from this as well. Malt plays a fairly prominant role with bready sweet nuances. This is a very balanced brew. Not as complex as I was expecting, but good overall. Somewhat of a mix between a west coast IPA and a good barleywine.

Mouthfeel is fairly full and coats the mouth well but doesn't linger for too long. A decent amount of carbonation leads to a nice crispness. Drinkability is very good with this one. Flavors are crafted together nicely and the alcohol level is low enough to where two bombers could be enjoyed at a reasonable pace without getting sloppy. A nice refreshing mouthfeel add to making this a highly drinkable beer.

More bottles will be coming home with me in the future. This is only my second Stone brew, and I've been thoroughly impressed thus far.

Photo of nortmand
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep ruby-red with a brilliant white head. Beautiful.
Deep, rich malty caramel smell, supported by a citrusy hop aroma.
Huge grapefuit up front, followed by a more mellow citrus-caramel malt infusion. Ends with a grapefruit reminiscent tart bitterness. Mmm... Tasty.
Smooth, silky drink that I will come back to again and again. Unfortunately as of now, I have to travel to find this beer. But it is well worth the trip.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always said it, Arrogant Bastard is the best invention in beer that has borne a true American Signature.

Malt!...Hops!....I might have given it back right then, right there if the bottle had not taunted be so. Bold aromas of caramelized malts, sweet dark fruits. Toasty and complcex. Waters the palate.

Deep mohogany in color. Ultimately clear. Dense tan head falls to about 1" and remains. Very nice lacing. A thick pour with medium carbonation.

Imediate assault of an aggressive malt and hop blend. Sweet caramels, figs, dates, a bit of licorice, vanilla, cherries....and a kitchen sink. (it's all in there). Agressive hop flavoring quickly rounds out this full-to-thick bodied delight. Bittering is well within balance of the malt. Complex through the body and gaining through the finish with the higher detection of alcohol. Viscosity to the mouth is not as great as I had expected from the appearance. Finishes nicely, not too drying or tacky for a high gravity or high alcohol beer.

Bittering hops dominate and mask subtle sweetness left in the background. Flavors of those dark fruits linger for quite a while. Well attenuated, melanoiden laiden, yet creamy and full-magical!

The malt bill seems characteristic of a bold Dopplebock, yet hopped with a ton of Chinook- much like an Imperial IPA. A monster yeast gives a complex and rich fruit flavor. It's not a sipper, but we won't be doing keg-stands with this one either. A beer that has won my respect, regardless what the bottle might say.

Photo of danielharper
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Midtown Wine and Spirits, Nashville, TN.

I honestly didn't think I'd like this beer. Perhaps I was swayed by the ad copy on the back of the bottle, but I was thinking that this would be a super-hopped monster that I would personally find very disagreeable, as I am not a big fan of overhoppy beers. Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty hoppy brew, but it's not so far out of whack that it's intimidating; in fact, the hops and the fruit flavors actually work pretty well together. This beer deserves its high ranking among beer advocates, and now I only wish I'd bought a couple more of these when I went up to Nashville a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance is, for me, the best part of this beer. Forget the fantastic printed bottle, forget the clever ad copy on the back that informs the potential buyer of how intense this beer is, and just give this beer a nice solid pour into a pint glass. Pours a deep, deep, red color and forms a fantastically creamy head that sticks around for the entire length of the beer, even when topping off the glass from the bottle. Looks almost like a ruby stout, it's so thick and dark -- I was totally impressed by the appearance of this beer, so give it one of my very-rare fives.

Smell is very nice, with a hop character that is very present, and beneath it a nice fruity ester. It made me think of a very bitter apple juice, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I didn't get a lot more complexities off the nose, but it was a very nice beer to sniff and I enjoyed it a lot.

Taste is very similar to the nose -- I didn't get any suprises here. Again, reminded me of a very, very bitter apple juice, pleasant as far as it goes, but nothing that knocked my socks off. The beer tasted good and finished clean, leaving little aftertaste, so I'm giving it high marks -- very pleasant.

The mouthfeel was a very nice thing about this beer, as the one real shock I had in store was just how thick this thing was. The beer coated my tongue admirably, swishing it around in my mouth made me realize that the last word I'd use to describe this beer was "watery"; this beer almost felt like syrup going down. Still, it was a cleansing kind of thickness, and left virtually no residue behind. Again, made me think of a nice stout in terms of consistency.

Good high score on drinkability. The clean finish and good taste make it a very easy-drinking beer, but I can't imagine finishing off more than one 22oz bottle of this beer, and probably couldn't even do one if it was very hot outside at that particular moment. Drinkable, enjoyable, but I'm going to stop at just one, thanks.

Next time I'm in Tennessee I'm absolutely going to buy a few bottles of this to keep on-hand. Too expensive to really drink everyday, but it's a nice beer to have for when it's needed. Until I can lay my hands on it again, I guess I'll get buy on Rogue American Amber.

EDIT 06-18-2005

I bought another bottle of this in Fayetteville, and upon another tasting, I've decided to up my "taste" rating from a 4 to a 4.5. Really fantastic taste, nicely balanced between hoppiness and sweet tartness. I only wish this stuff didn't cost six dollars a bottle, and I didn't have to drive forty-five minutes to get it.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling an ABA tonight and surfing before I hit the sack, my mind wandered and I got to thinking what my original Review made of this monstrous brew when I tried it some 3+ years ago…..oh-oh, where is it, I’m utterly shocked and I simply cannot believe that I have never reviewed this brew, or at least if I did it got deleted LOL!!!

Others come and go, but Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale is *the* one and only staple brew that always has had a place in my fridge since I moved to the USA in September 2001.

The demonic gargoyle looks as good now as it did the first time I did a “double-take” when I clapped eyes on the Bomber three years ago. The screen printed bottle will stand the test of time for sure, and it is no understatement to say that the iconic design of the Arrogant Bastard Ale bottle is to the modern day craft beer scene what Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup tin was to Pop Art.

It’s all been written before, by those who can wax lyrical and are a lot more eloquent & knowledgeable about beer than I, so I won’t even attempt to add anything differential to the staggering amount of nearly 600 Reviews already written.

After you try this, and move onto “bigger” brews, and of course clash swords with its copy-cat followers, it is all too easy to forget what a simply marvelous big-ass raw & complex, yet balanced & refined, brew this really is.

Not a perfect ‘5’, but no complaints here and pretty much a perfect brew for me, well actually, I would add that it is only “improved” IMVHO when Oak-Aged and dispensed from the Cask I feel.

A Path-Finder and a true Stand-Out beer.
Big name, big flavors, big beer, big bastard.

“You’re Not Worthy”…..NO, really, you’re NOT…..

Photo of paterlodie
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a hopnose catchable at the start cause off a not overwelming head. Darkbrown beercolor and not 100% clear. Nose is just like a good bag of aromatic hops with litle caramellic and coffeenotes from malt that also must have been used but partly fermented cause an alcoholic hint is there. Taste is proving that malts have been used and raffined into alc and CO2. Roasty, coffee but missing some body before going into a good bitterness. Litle hanging but with this amount... wonderfull. As of course the mouthfeel of a brew like this is, warming and provoking in another sip! Good beer and wuld love to have another one...

Photo of packetknife
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark crimson which barely let any light through. Off-white lightly persistent head, very thin. Smells of baker's chocholate, caramel, and a bit of citrus. Malts and barley overwhelm the hops and the taste is almost like the smell. The hops made a strong impression on the finish. No discernable aftertaste and felt very full in the mouth although the carbonation could've been less aggressive. Don't drink too fast though or you'll forget what you were drinking by morning.

Photo of baiser
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I absolutely loved this beer. Pours dark brown with reddish highlights. Aroma of caramel, tonnes of hops, dark fruit and toastedness. Delicious beer - sweet, toasty, caramel, dark fruit, tremendous hop flavours. Full bodied, rich, and extremely complex. Hidden alcohol, and very drinkable. Full of flavour and definitely one of the best beers I've had.

Photo of Backer2004
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one came to me by chance. my mother, of all people, brought this one down as a gift from Ohio (since we still can't get a Strong Ale in NC). I held on to it all week until the end of a hard work week. This was well worth the wait.

Pours a terrific reddish-brow hue with a half inch head that would have sat atop if allowed it. Smells of strong floral hops with a bit of alcohol. Great complexity of tastes, including cinnamon, citrus, and caramel. Mouthfeel good, but to be expected with this one. i'll finish the 750 mL, but it's not a session beer.

On the other hand, my wife hated it. As the label says, it's not for everyone.

Photo of necoadam
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a dark ruby/brownish color with a good looking head. Left some lacing on the glass, but not that much. Smell was mostly hops, with a faint aroma of malts and a touch of barley. Taste was almost like the smell, but the malts made more of a difference. Hops explode on the palate at first with a heavy dose of malts and barley coming in the middle and balancing out everything. Hops linger in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel was full bodied with a creamy texture, but the hops really linger for a long time. Not for the weak, that's for sure.

Photo of TongoRad
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a saturated dark copper color with a tall, finely bubbled tan head. This beer's appearance holds the promise of richness.

Aroma is a nice balance of dark caramel, spicy/citrusy hops and some fruit (hints of fresh fig and blackberry), though ultimately the caramel rules all. Underneath it all is a suggestion of alcohol. Overall it could be more potent, though.

This beer tastes great- lots of potential for cloying here but there is a significant bitterness and alcohol presence to save it. Those qualities from the aroma are here as well- the caramel comes out early but the fruit creeps in at the end and lingers with the very long hoppy finish. Very well put together.

Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,801 ratings.