Arrogant Bastard Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arrogant Bastard AleArrogant Bastard Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

9,798 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,798
Reviews: 2,965
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.26%
Wants: 371
Gots: 1,927 | 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: 9,798 | Reviews: 2,965
Photo of misterscooter
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a righteous beer and it definitely kicks you in the arse. It pours beautifully out of the 22 oz. bottle with a deep, dark, red-orange color. A solid, thick head sits on top and disappears at a good rate, leaving bits of lace and foam along the edges.

A very earthy, evergreen smell. Also, some straw smell. Damp straw, even because there is a slightly sweet smell.

Taking it in and holding it, you get the caramel of the malt, very unique and different than most of the malts I've tasted. In the back of the mouth and as you swallow, the hops come out and you get a bite. My first few swallows, the hops were definitely evident, no way to miss them. About half way through, they mellow out (or I'm mellowing out with the alcohol content). A bit of a smoky flavor, like a burnt marshmallow but not as sweet.

This beer will make you cough if you aren't careful when sifting out the flavors. It feels good on the tongue but the bite of the hops and the carbonation get to you after a bit.

This is a special occasion beer, for kicking back on a rainy night. I don't see myself having it very often but it will be high on my list.

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Update: 10/29/06
--
Well it's been more than a year and my, how tastes change. I still think this is a horribly out of balance beer, but somehow, that works for me now. I'm not sure this is something I'd want all the time, but if in in the mood, this is a well crafted hopbomb. Well crafted.



Original Review 3/23/05:
--
I've been really stoked to try this one for quite a while, would it live up to it's lip flapping arrogance? Not really.

Poured a quite beautiful deep reddish brown with a thick light tan head. Nose is quite hoppy, hints of pine and malt as well. Taste is a bit overwhelming at first, all you taste is the hop bite and pine that comes with it, maybe a bit of the dryish finish as well. After a few sips though I began to detect the malt profile and the fruit notes within.

Overall, too much hops, totally unbalanced. Some like that about this beer, but it's just not my bag. As usual arrogance is all dependant on perspective.

Slàinte!

Photo of DrJay
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear chestnut red/brown colour topped by a dense tan head. Thick lace was left on the sides of the glass and the head retention was excellent. Very nice to look at. Great combination of malts and hops in the aroma. Hops consist of a raw grassy smell and a light floral aroma. Caramel and toffee come through fairly strong, and there's some very nice ripe fruit in there as well as very light alcohol.

There's a big malt flavour that starts it off closely followed by a pine resin bitterness that lasts all the way into the long, bitter finish. As it warms, the malt becomes more pronounced, with a hint of chocolate showing up. This really helps the flavours mellow and balance very well. Remarkably well balanced, actually. Very full body with moderate carbonation. Bubbles were on the small side and added some smoothness to the slightly creamy texture. Slightly drying at the finish with a bit of alcohol warming.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer. The strong flavours and aromas make it quite distinctive, while the craftsmanship keeps it very balanced and sinfully easy to drink. Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber with no best before date.

Photo of AndIWantYou
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally! I've been meaning to try out the venerable AB since.. well.. since I discovered good beer. My last attempt met with failure when Vintage Cellar was temporarily out of stock, but here it is today. 24 ounce bottle with the devil on the front and a lot of talk on the back...

I love the cranberry red color of this beer. The cappucino head was not something I expected (I would have guessed white or off-white) and didn't stick around too long. Smells much sweeter than it tastes; the hops cut the sweetness just enough. A little hop bitterness and a little alcohol warmth. Almost a vodka-like quality when I swallow (not so much the alcohol but the flavors). Fills the mouth with just enough body but not overly much.

I'm not sure this beer lives up to the hype on the bottle, though. Sure, most people don't like strong beers like this, but I don't think it's any less palatable to a BMCer than a DFH 60 Minute or even a SNPA.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Believe the hype. I had had this beer once before, unfortunately the first time was not very "memorable" if you know what I mean. For a beer that has traveled across the country it has held up remarkably well.

Appearance: Deep mahogany, the type of beer you'll notice from across the room.

Smell: Crisp, clean, smokey, pine and orange.

Mouthfeel: The smallest sip (full)fills your mouth. Nice follow thorough from front to back.

Taste: Reminds me of the smell of a campfire on an early fall night. Not very descriptive, I know, but it's one of those tastes! Caramel, chocolate, fruity.

Drinkability: Fantastic, I am 1/4 way through a pint, several satisfying burps and I am on the verge of being unable to type. Look for posts later.

Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark amber with hint of red in color. Nice mocha colored head. Grapefruit scented aroma. Extremely creamy feel with a wonderful mix of citrus and pine hop flavor. Not as over the top as I was expecting. The hop flavors are there and are definitely dominant. But it is a very well balanced beer, with a strong malt base. As the beer finishes, the bitterness really pops out at you and then trails off with a lingering flora hop flavor on the tongue. Happily much better of a balanced beer than I was expecting.

Photo of beertastegood
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful amber with a creamy, rocky tan head. Smells of citrus hops, orange peel and a bit of sweetness...maybe a bit of raisins in the aroma as well.

Taste is very complex. I can discern a good amount of malt flavor that is balanced almost perfectly by the hop bitterness. Finish is hoppy and dry. The alcohol content is hidden very well. Drinkability is low to medium.

An excellent beer. Hard to describe...have one for yourself.

Photo of bnuttz
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy ruby color into my pint glass. A fluffy, creamy dark tan head forms and remains for quite some time. Smells of sweet caramel and fruits. No real hoppiness registering on the nose. A strong sweet malt backbone is the base of this one. Its full of caramel and dark fruits. A citric hop bitterness hits hard next. The bitterness is lingering and stays with the pallate for some time. The alcohol makes sure its presence known towards the end. Mouthfeel is nice and thick, great for the style. I like this beer, not my favorite example of the style, I think I fell into the hype a little bit, but nonetheless a great beer. Thanks a lot to prostman for the trade.

Photo of swamiswamu
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Chumley's in Indianapolis

This beer is trully a different beast on tap than it is out of a bottle. The garnet color was offset well by a tannish head that stuck around quite awhile. While there's some balance, this beer is all about hops. A sip is like taking a bite out of a grapefruit. Great beer to sip, but one is enough.

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

Finally had this bad boy on tap at Redbones in Somerville, MA.
Pours a dark rust color...almost scaring away the other patrons, but I put their minds at ease.
Produced a full finger of white head which disappeared too quickly...one of the most impressive lacings I have seen to date.
Served a bit too chilled, so not all of the flavors were emanating form the pint...mostly sweet malt and a subtle aroma of fruity hops coming out.
I have come to realize that AB combines all of the qualities that I have learned to appreciate over the years....a nice burst of sweet maltiness up front, with a nice blend of fruity hops with no real sense of the alcohol present. Finish is bitter, but does not linger on the pallet.
The mouthfeel is not thick, but is by no means thin...the perfect carbonation makes this brew totally drinkable for its style.
This is my first experience w/ this brew on tap and I am really glad Redbones had it in it's rotation...I am worthy indeed!

Photo of JackStraw22
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: slightly cloudy amber red body, about an inch or off white head. Some pretty good lacing.

smell: Smells a lot like a hoppy barleywine, very malty and a good dose of hop aroma. The malt arom is sweet, but not fruity, more like candy, wonderful.

taste: wow, lots going on here. Everything is so well balanced, though. Very malty and bitter but all just right. A nice warming from the alcohol to finsih it off. Heaven.

mouthfeel: kind of velvety yet not sticky.

drinkability: excellent. For such an intense brew, it's easy to want more.

Photo of carln26
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

How do you start with this beer. Deep mahogany with ruby highlights. Thin light brown head. Nose is dates and figs from the malt along with grapefruit orange with a mild doughy character. Great depth of flavor with layers of sweetness from the malt. It starts as candy, changes to the date/fig component and becomes spicy like a carrot cake after a while. Smooth mouth feel medium drinkability.

Photo of Joey7F
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Arrogant Bastard Ale is one of those beers that you hear about and if you are lucky enough to not live in Tampa Florida, you can buy it at your local liquor store.

Fortunately my friend from Colorado brought 6 for me. I paid a premium for it, it was worth it because having 6 large containers of liquid surrounding a video card with a few usb cables hanging off scares the NSTB people...he practically had to drink the beer to prove that it was not dangerous.)

The head on this beer lasts forever, and pours a dark orange (thing of beauty) It has a strong smell, but you can only really smell it when you are on top of it. It tastes like an ESB and it is good chilled, it is fantastic at room temperature. The mouthfeel is like that of a good stout and the drinkability is good, but at 7.2% abv you probably won't want too many.

--Joey

Photo of whartontallboy
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge frothy head crowns a nice brown pour and leaves lace all over my snifter. Smell is hoppy and alcoholic with some malt straining to sneak through. The taste is hoptacular, but it's balanced well by a malty sweetness and candied fruit taste. The sweetness hides the alcohol pretty well, and then a nice hop and caramel interplay starts on your tongue. Quite entertaining. I'd label this one as medium-to-full bodied, and the complexities really shine through as it warms up a bit. Not just a clever bit of marketing, this one kicks ass, like all the other Stone brews I've had.

Photo of dgallina
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear ruby with a mammoth and rocky off-white head. Leaves a foamy layer and very solid lacing on the sides of the glass. Smells thickly and sweetly malty, with strong piney hops and an undercurrent of grapefruits and slight banana-like tropical fruits. Smooth and quite creamy, with powerful and chewy resin-like pine flavors. The initial hop kick is followed-up with chunky sweet caramel malts, which are interwoven with the hop flavors through the drink. Chewy, smooth, and very satisfyingly creamy in the mouth. A really good American-style strong ale.

Photo of Knuckles
2.08/5  rDev -50%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I just don't get the accolades this beer gets. This beer is, to me, a very simple but oddly discordant brew. So at the risk of getting flamed, here goes.

Appearance: The color, initially, is attractive. I was able to pour a nice head with little effort, and it's a fairly deep ruby, and not unappealing.

Smell: Fairly malty, but in a cloyingly sweet kind of way. Then, in the finish, there's this weird whiff of hops that really doesn't seem to belong. What in the hell is going on with this beer?

Taste: Malty at the start and in the middle, but not in a way I would view favorably. Almost a brown sugar (dark corn syrup?) kind of sweetness to it, that then has this complete non-sequiteur of a hop finish. Don't get me wrong, I love hops (and when used wisely in an stronger beer, they can be impressive as hell: Pike XXX Stout, for example), but these just don't belong. Are they the wrong type, or just work poorly with the malts? I don't know.

Mouthfeel: Initially, upon seeing the color, I thought this would be a warm, velvety presence in my mouth. Disappointingly enough, it wasn't. Very thin, and just not what I expected.

Drinkability: This beer is comprised of individual elements that simply do not work with each other. The aroma doesn't work with the taste, the malts don't work with the hops, the taste doesn't work with the mouthfeel. What I found, in this tasting, is that the colder the beer is served, the more coherent it is. As you allow it to warm to proper temperatures, the various elements seperate themselves from each other and become even more discordant. Damn thing can't even warm up right.

I've now had this twice in my life (Christmas of 1997, right after it came out, and just now). Both times my impressions were the same, so I won't be having it again. Arrogance is a great marketing tool, I just wish they had a beer that was worth being arrogant about.

Photo of allengarvin
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark, ruby-tinted brown. Impressive head of yellowish foam.

Smell: Rich, toasted malt and a huge hop aroma.

Taste: Very toasted, nutty malt with a bouquet of hop flavors that alternatively remind me of grapefruit, dried pine needles, lemongrass and peppery basil. Finishes lingeringly with a bitter dryness.

Body: Crisp, surprisingly light mouthfeel.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark jewel like amber with tan and rowdy head.

The first thing I got from this beer was big piney hops, followed quickly by sweet grains and alcohol.

The hops with this beer are massive, high alpha oil tough guys, but they fit quite nicely with the huge malts and ABV. Great caramel flavor.

Good C02, slick and dry finish.

A beer to be reckoned with. I'll usually take a dare, and dares are rarely this pleasurable. Thanks to karst for the treat. Yee-oww!

Photo of IrishMike
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'Tis a shame, living in Jersey; no bottle of Stone can be found at any store within this state. Ah well, thanks to the wonderful resource of the online trading forum, i was able to grab a nice 22oz bomber of this. Many thanks to mntlover for the help!

Appearance- Pours a deep copper with a healthy, but not excessive, amount of carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. 1" off-white head with excellent retention and small sparkles of lacing all about. Barley-wine esque, with better retention and more carbonation.

Smell- Very nice, i'm a big fan of caramel and this seems to slap on plenty of it. Nice hops round out the nose as well; background floral notes fight, but eventually give up, a losing battle with the strong malt character. Tiny roasted character hiding in there somewhere.

Taste- Ever feel like you've just been slapped after taking a sip of beer? This is only the second time this strange feeling has occured with me, and the other time was with the wayyy wild Old Crusty. Sweet upfront, excellent caramel/toffee/nutty taste that seems to be relatively mild and even "normal". The beer then makes you apologize for ever thinking it was normal for even a second. Hops come in, citrusy/grapefruity, but they are still nice and somewhat subdued. After-taste is a solid slap to your jaw. Pure brutality. I love it. I read other reviews stating that this beer lacks a certain balance, and it's true. But it's polarizing in that sense; a love it or hate it taste if i've ever seen one. I happen to be one of the people that really liked it.

Mouthfeel- Thanks to the brutual bitterness that comes from this brew, the taste will stay in your mouth for a LONG time. That's not a bad thing at all (consdering it tastes great), except after drinking a large amount of it the after-taste does seem to wear you down a little. Very thick and oily.

Drinkability- i could THEORETICALLY see how someone could make this a session brew, but it just isn't my type. Beats me up too badly. Grab a glass here and there, though, and i'll be a happy man. Great taste, just a bit too rugged to be making a frequent trip to.

I read the back label, and Stone made it a point to say that "i probably wouldn't like this beer". Well, i loved it, but i can see how the average macro drinker (the same macros that advertise "say goodbye to aftertaste" these days) would hate this brew with a wild passion. Strong, brutal, and arrogant. What a nice way to start off my experience with Stone.

Photo of rousee
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Caramel brown with a lush thick 4mm head that holds extremely well. A good tiny-bubbled lace is left on sides of glass. Malty-earthy smell--fairly non-descript--does have some buttery elements not diacetyl-ish though. The taste is a full-on malt assault and quite lovely. Has nuttiness of cashews or hazelnuts. There is little to no bitterness but it does finish slightly too syrupy and sticky. The mouthfeel is fuzzy and syruppy but still quite pleasant. AB on tap is too damn drinkable (7.2abv) --very smooth but maybe a little too sticky--so have water with it. Much better on-tap than in the bottle.

Photo of jed
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: Comes in a brown, 22 oz bomber with the infamous Stone gargoyle on the front, and a hilarious blurb questioning one's right to consume the beer on the back. No freshness date. Poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, rich chestnut brown — almost amber. Uniform, opaque color throughout the glass. One finger's worth of head w/okay retention. As the head disappears, it leaves behind tons of lacing, uniformly coating the sides of the glass.

Smell: An excellent blend of citrus, hoppy aromas contrasting sweet, caramel malt. Also a hint of light fruit in the aroma.

Taste: A wallop of initial hop bitterness gives way to sweet, malty flavors — almost buttery caramel, and more fruit sweetness. I realize it's the yeast and the malt, but I swear that there's a hint of pineapple in this beer. Throughout the pint, regardless of the dominant flavor, the hops provide an underlying dry bitterness. Finish is dry, with lingering hop flavors and a touch of sweetness. This is one balanced bastard of a beer.

Mouthfeel: Solid mouthfeel, could be a bit smoother but still strong.

Drinkability: I really want to say that this would be a great session beer, but the 7.2% alcohol suggest otherwise. Still, it's rare to find a beer boasting both strong flavor and strong drinkability.

I approached this beer, my first Stone, with trepidation: the cult of the bastard is strong on Beer Advocate. Happily, this is one beer that easily leaves up to the hype. The hops are well balanced by the malt, resulting in a beer that's accessible while packing a huge flavor. We're not worthy.

Photo of beersarang
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Hilarious bottle. Love Stone.

Pours a beautiful amber with a voluminous tan head.

Smell is of floral citrucy American hops and lightly toasted malts.

Taste, now I love Ruination, so I'm not afraid of hops. I felt that this beer was out of balance. The malt is strong, alcohol character is strong, and hop character is way strong. "This is an agressive beer." but not well put together. Something feels a little wrong with this, the aftertaste is rather intense and mildly unpleasant. I guess I'm just a little dissapointed with the "flagship" beer of stone. All around a good beer, but get the ruination instead.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with appropriate carbonation.

Not particularly drinkable because of the harshness and the "off balanced-ness"

Photo of mynie
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wonderful bottle. The little gargoyle man is holding up his stein with a smug look on his face like the guys I hated in high school. Fuck this, I’m being challenged. The back of the bottle contains a hilarious little spiel about how I will hate this beer because I am not sophisticated enough for it.

Pours beautiful. Dark red mixing with ruby hues and a perfect, two finger head. The head lasts too. Wonderful.

Smells of deep hops, varied from floral to zippy, with a distinct zing of alcohol in the mix.

Great balance. Wonderful. Floral and fruity hops up front, followed with a glimpse of alcohol, followed by a great balancing of malt sweetness, and finished up by a dull, lasting bitterness. It’s like getting burned, but in a good way: intense feeling, cessation, a disoriented clam, and then a lingering reminder of the beginning. This is an incredibly complex mix of intense feelings. Very nice.

Not nearly as hoppy as I had thought it would be. But this is a different beer, a better balanced beer, and truly a beer that everybody should try.

Photo of crookedhalo
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

So many beers... so little time. I'm surprised I hadn't reviewed this already (on second thought, I still have a 3 liter of this that has been stowed away for a year or so). Pours a deep copper color with a fluffy off-white head. Some caramel malt sweetness mixed with a tree bark-like earthiness with a lot of piney and citrusy hops in the aroma. Malty and hoppy, balanced rather nicely. The hopping is piney and aggressive and the malt comes across as caramelly, biscuity and a little sweet at times. I wonder how many times this beer has just bitch-slapped some die-hard SNPale Ale drinker in the face.

Photo of Sycodrummer
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz. bomber into a 12 oz. toulip glass. Formed a dark brown color with a think and frothy 2 finger head and slight translucence. Color fades a bit to a ruby red when the light gets at it. Decent lacing lined the glass for the entire length of the sample.

Smell is slightly floral and malty. A faint smell of alcohol is present but not enough to let on to its 7.2% ABV.

Taste is quite good. A sharp maltiness to it that finishes nice and crisply. Rather bitter but well balanced so as not to overpower the taste. Rather complex with a lot of flavors mixed but also balanced well. The alcohol kicks in when swallowed and packs a punch. Not over-poweringly alcoholic but a definite punch to let you know its there. A very slight imperial stout character taste to it.

Moderate mouth feel. With slight carbonation coming thru when left for a moment on the palate.

Very drinkable though not something I would have with the main course. Great to have before as an aperitif of sorts. 12oz sampling would be perfect size before a meal. More than that in one continous sitting and the ABV and "arrogant" taste of this beer will takes its toll.

All in all: very well done. I will be having it again soon.

Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,798 ratings.