Stonecutter - Renaissance Brewing

Not Rated.
StonecutterStonecutter

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BA SCORE
87
very good

64 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 64
Hads: 114
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 6.67%
Wants: 6
Gots: 7 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Renaissance Brewing visit their website
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: VitBAficionado on 02-12-2008

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 114
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.17/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried at the Local Taphouse's Kiwi SpecTapular. Part of my ongoing effort to write up my reviews from that event.

Pours a deep bronze colour, with a fine head of white that sits strong and robust to begin with, but turns filmy rather disappointingly. Light body. Not a strong look for a scotch ale.

Nose is rather mild, with some cracked grain and a whiff of dry lucerne. Some biscuity characters, but not a lot else. It's quite mild, and very underwhelming.

Taste is light and reminiscent of an English Pale Ale. Mild and light, with a little toffee on the finish, that is indeed too little, too late. No hint of the 7% ABV, but giving a hint of it would have stopped this from being quite so insipid.

No, I'm afraid I'm not a great fan of this one. Too weak to be a proper Scotch ale. (790 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You wouldn't suspect looking at this rusty, dark russet toned beer that it actually lights up to look almost like clamato, in both colour and consistency. The hazy beer looks heavy has a brick (which it also resembles) and has a thin head that leaves a lacing dense enough to grip the glass even as the liquid beneath it dissipates down.

The aroma has enough wood smoke and peat-y earth to convince me it was brewed on Islay. Seriously, for a moment I forgot this was actually produced on the other side of the world. And, if not for the amount of thick, sweet and chewy malt I might have forgotten that it's actually a beer - and not a scotch. This is rich stuff.

The brewery shares that they used 9 varieties of malts but what they fail to mention is how many pounds of grain must go into each batch - my guess is a lot. The beer is laced with rich, vivid elements of kettle caramelization as well as a peaty, lightly smoky flavour (like that of Islay whiskeys), lots of grain, and an abundance of raisin-y fruitiness.

I'm no brewing expert, but take it from me: this beer was made by one. No shortcuts were taken with regard to the beer's sweetness; crystal malts were used only as needed. This is bona fide kettle caramelization. And delicate use of dark malts gave the hints of chocolate and smoke without adding any harsh roast or astringency. Alcohol is hidden.

Unlike popular American renditions of the style, this Kiwi offering doesn't take any shortcuts by pushing the hop and caramel levees to their breaking points. Rather, it has textbook emulated all that is appealing and distinctive about the classic Scottish examples except to the point of, well, in my opinion, actually doing an even better job at it. (1,728 characters)

Photo of liamt07
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml into a tulip.

Pours a matte dark brown/mahogany, with a finger of light brown head. Little retention and good lacing. Nose has vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, light chocolate notes and some dark fruits, mostly resembling raisins. Taste has chocolate, rich brown sugar and molasses notes, nuts and maybe more dark fruits again. Some roasty flavours as well. Medium heavy mouthfeel, but carbonation could be dialed back a bit (as I did, with a few swirls). Light tartness in the finish which takes away more than it complements I thought. Good drinkability with a touch of alcohol at the end. A nice beer, and ideal for this time of the year. (667 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to brandy snifter.

A - Medium to dark amber with only a very small amount of light passing through around the edges. A huge amount of thick, foamy cream coloured head formed on the pour and quickly receded to about a finger's width.

S - Dark caramel, toffee and a very light peat aroma. There is a slight metallic aroma in the background that is a touch off-putting.

T - A big sweetness up front that gives way to whisky, smoky and stone fruit flavours (raisin/dates/figs). Plenty of sweet dark caramel, burnt sugar and toffee notes. The alcohol is slightly warming and cuts through the sweetness very well.

M - Medium to full body with a very nice chew. Moderate carbonation. (689 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Moderately strong toffee aroma with notes of toasted nut, milk chocolate and coconut. Nice.

Fairly clear, amber colour with a big, long lasting light tan head. Quite creamy in appearance.

I'm not so keen on the flavour. The big toffee flavour is slightly muted and feels a bit empty. There is a touch of oxidation and an emptiness to the whole beer which lets it down. Not as complex as it should be.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Reasonable.

A reasonable attempt at the style. Unfortunately, there is no date on the bottle so I don't know how old it is but for a beer of this strength it tastes just a bit too oxidised given it has to be less that 18 months old. (681 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - Slightly hazy reddish/copper colour with a small size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, butterscotch, raisins, leather

Taste & Mouth - There is a low amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and butterscotch. There are also notes of dark fruits such as raisins and maybe some dates. There is also an earthiness and a touch of leather and chocolate. It ends with a dark fruit and malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - There is quite a bit of taste going on with this one. It keeps it interesting throughout the glass. It's not my favourite style of beer, but I'm glad I gave it a try. (753 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish color with ruby tints and a slightly hazy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Aroma consisted of lots of malt, caramel and some grains.

T: Tasted of malt (a good deal of it), caramel, a slightly grainy quality. This is a solid flavor, just what you expect from a Scotch Ale. gets better as you go along.

M: A generally well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An all around, well made, drinkable beer. (528 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy dark amber colour. Bright with strong carbonation coming up. A great two fingers of fluffy eggshell head. Great thick rings of lace coating the glass. Half finger of thin retention.

S - Amazing dark fruits with strong plum obvious. Slightly weak whiskey.

T - Lot's of caramel, a rough yeast character, fruits, less dark fruits. More mild, less interesting fruity notes than the aroma.

M - Nice carbonation, good coating with a medium body.

O/D - Good up until the taste really. Not that it wasn't good, just nothing I would really seek out. Nice to drink and tasty, but nothing to write home about. (620 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At last, a decent beer after a series of duds. Let this warm a bit out of the fridge. Poured with a nice, full, billowy, foamy, frothy, light tan head that lasts a while and lots of lace. Color is a hazy garnet brown. Aroma is mineral and malt at first, then getting richer with traditional scotch ale characteristics and a little fruit. Flavor is similar and is like the description on the label. Body is full and soft with some high points and good carbonations for the style. Finish is like flavor and of medium length. Session beer. (536 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a large, growing head.
Nose shows chocolate, sultanas, caramel, and nutty malt. Pretty moreish.
Flavours include more caramel and chocolate alongside nutty malt. Quite sweet.
Spoiled a little by the excessively high carbonation though. (252 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruddy amber with a compact, creamy beige mousse.

S: Very malty and fruity on the nose with aromas of toffee, heavy cream, plums, and cocoa readily discernible.

T: Notes of toffee, brown sugar, heavy cream, coffee, cocoa, leather, plums, chestnuts, and peat are underscored by a subtle hoppiness. The finish is extremely rich and malty with toffee, cocoa, leather, and cream notes.

M: Full bodied and chewy. Carbonation is very gentle and not all that noticeable unless you're looking for it. Off-dry, but neither oily nor sticky.

O: This is a very good take on the classic Scotch ale/wee heavy style that sets itself apart by demonstrating a delicate balance of malt and hop flavors. (703 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich red colour. Head is beige, whispy, really, with disappointing lace. Good colour, bit underwhelmed by everything else.

Smells malty. Lots of English toffee with slight vanilla notes. Cedar wood and pine add some interest, and decent scotch ale smell anyway.

Taste is quite scotchy, really. Lots of caramel fudge and toffee upfront, gets boozey midway but enjoyable woody notes and a slight burnt sugar character that verges on bitter late. Pleasant, not too heavy, not too sweet either.

Lots of body as one would expect, but not too syrupy. Decent.

Yeah, I can't feign a great fondness for the scotch ale style, and I think Renaissance have done a good job toning down the potentially more extreme aspects, just leaving the nice aspects, the sweet booziness without the hot syrupy aspects. (805 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant deep chestnut under a persistent rootbeer float quality light tan head that perches high up over the rim of the glass and leaves ledges of lace.
S: Rich malt, grainy spice, light sweetness.
T: Rich malt flavors that have a malt whiskey character. Starts sweet and then dries out on the finish.
F: Creamy, medium full body, above average carbonation.
O: A little over carbonated but other than that a very nice Scotch Ale. (438 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy ruby red colour, finger of head with solid retention and sporadic lacing.

S - Sweet cherries, caramel and toffee, leather and some musty hops.

T - Unique flavour going down, reminiscent of a cider with sweet fruit and bourbon notes. The finish is superb with the peat flavours lingering alongside some caramel and tobacco.

M - No problems in this department, solid carbonation level with a smooth finish.

O - A tasty Scotch Ale with some unique flavours that I've yet to encounter in the style. Props to the LCBO for procuring this stuff because it was certainly a worthy ale. (606 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brown reddish color with a huge thick beige head that would not go away.
Fruity aroma with notes of hay, smoked malts, caramels and plums.
Superb flavor with notes of peat, smoked malts, prunes, toffee, raisins soaked in rum, cocoa powder, figs, spices, earthy hops and licorice.
Full body with good carbonation which is a bit effervescent.
Very interesting and original beer, a Smoked Scotch ale with good complexity. (419 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before June 20, 2012.

Pours a very dark ruby red. With a vigorous pour, I get a moderate sized off-white head. Pretty good retention. Decent lacing.

Smell is very big. Burnt toffee, caramel, raisin, prune, smoke, wood and bread. Booze is noticeable as well, thought it is not an overly strong beer.

Taste is a bit more subdued than the smell, though still very flavourful. Smoky burnt toffee flavours are upfront, peaty. The dark fruit (raisin/prune) from the nose is greatly reduced. Caramel malt. Alcohol is quite noticeable- would have pegged it at higher than 7%, as the booze is more present than in many stronger beers. Some chocolate flavours are present.

Pretty full bodied, but feels lighter than expected from the big smell. Moderate carbonation. Rather chewy.

I have not had many scotch ales, but this is pretty good. The smell a bit more exciting than the taste, but definitely an enjoyable beer. (920 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to nyctreal for breaking this one out!

A-Dark brown with ruby highlights. Nice, creamy medium tan head. Reduced and left good lcaing.

S-Sweet caramel and roasted malts with hints of chocolate and figs. All in all somewhat muted.

T-Rich and bold roasted malt backbone with sweet caramel notes ending with a bite of bitter chocolate and dark fruits.

M-Medium body with a very nice smoothness. Just a tad on the thin side of things....wouldn't mind a bit more body

D-Nice job overall. This wasn't a hard one to like as the melding of flavours upheld the slight lack of body. Well done. (598 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy ruby with a touch of brown and a big finger of frothy tannish head. The head fades down slowly leaving behind some good lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of caramel malts, dark fruit, and chocolate with some black licorice, and a bit of smoke.

T - Starts off with some sweet caramel and toffee malts with some raisin, prune, and dark fruits , with a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, some brown sugar and chocolate malts come through with a bit of smoke. The finish is a mix sweet caramel and toffee malts, dark fruits, chocolate, and a bit of black licorice.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and lightly fruity finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice balanced scotch ale. Good malty profile. (751 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red colour, 1.5 fingers on off white/tan head, some lace left on the glass. Smell i s a mix of caramel, sweet mal and berries, floral, toffee, liquorice and very fruity notes round out the nose. Taste is rich malts and fruit, sweet bready notes, caramel and toffee, roasted notes in the finish with a lingering coffee/chocolate kick. Light carbonation, full body and a little sticky mouthfeel. This was very nice, I hope to try some of the other offerings from this brewery, well balanced, nice delicate and pleasing malt bomb. (545 characters)

Photo of mdagnew
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com

Poured a crystal clear coppery russet colour. Light tan head poured tight, thick and foamy then faded to decent wispy covering with thick edging... light carbonation drifts slowly to the surface... some patchy lacing lines...

Aroma - Roasted caramel malts, dried and alcohol soaked dark fruits (raisins, dates, figs and some sour apples), burnt nuttiness, light peaty smoke, vanilla, earthy notes, quite spicy and peppery, some oaky / scotch / rum traces, floral honey...

Taste – Lots of strong toffee malts, brown sugar / treacle sweetness, lots of peppery spiciness, (over?) ripe fruit - dates, figs, some banana. Faint smokiness, toasted bread, toffee apples, definite scotch alcohol notes coming through, very light grassy hop bitterness, nutty...

Feel - Very smooth and creamy... medium bodied... a pretty quaffable brew even at 7% although you never forget that the alcohol is there...

Overall - An excellent example of a wee heavy... perfect for a cold winters evening... recommended... (1,049 characters)

Photo of flyingpig
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£5.80):
Quite a nice first beer from Renaissance Brewing for me, I'm never quite sure about Scotch Ales going in due to the fact that most of the mass-produced Scotch Ales out there are quite poor and loaded with alcohol, at least in my experience anyway but this one was a pleasant beer to sip away at. There was a lot going on, particularly with the smell but the beer had a good balance that stopped it from seeming overly sweet or sickening; good stuff but probably not one I'd be likely to pick up again. (554 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours dark amber hue with ruby highlights and a large tan head that slowly dissipates down the side of the glass, leaving a decent trail and ending in a wispy lace.

S: Toffee and caramel aroma with hints of raisins.

T: Flavor comes through similar to the smell with a malty toffee and caramel taste. Hints of chocolate and raisins in the background.

M: Full body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent Scotch Ale. Warming and rich and just enough alcohol. (511 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO, best before June 2012. I've had some really good wine from New Zealand - beer, not so much, but this one looks more promising than Steinlager.

Pours a muddy reddish-copper colour, topped with about two fingers of creamy, long-lasting off-white head - it takes a long time to dissipate but leaves webs of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. This is a very attractive beer, and the aroma is very enticing as well. Nice, sweet roasted biscuit malt backbone, lots of toffee, raisins and a few herbal/anise notes. All of these together impart the brew with that earthy, peaty feel one expects from a proper Scotch Ale.

"Proper", however, is a descriptor that is far too wishy-washy to use to describe this stuff - something like "delicious" or "fantastic" would be far more appropriate. As advertised, this ale is definitely a malt bomb - plenty of nutty roasted malt character, lots of toffee alongside lesser notes of vanilla and chocolate. Raisin/prune flavours are noticeable as well. Herbal and earthy toward the end of the sip, with a bit of peat and smoke that leaves some lingering dryness in the aftertaste. The ethanol is virtually unnoticeable. Medium-bodied - a bit too light for my tastes but this is really the only criticism I can come up with. Very mild carbonation, and extremely smooth/easy to drink for the style.

A bit pricy, but this is a solid Scotch ale; a bit less intense/rough than others but undeniably enjoyable. If this had a bit more body it would probably be my new favourite for the style. This is definitely worth a try, and is enough to make me overlook the systematic suppression of the metric system, as well as Steve Gutenberg's fame. (1,704 characters)

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Tumbler glass. Enjoyed on may´12. Dark amber in color, dark ruby to the light. Light beige, creamy froth. Brief crown. Caramel malt, toasted malt aromas, toffee & licorice hints. Gentle but intense malty sweetness upfront & fruity tea-like. Suntuous mouthfeel. Fruits –grapes & plums- & bitterness in the middle linger into the finish. Full body, moderate carbonation. Well balanced flavors & ABV just felt at the end. Such an smart beer! (455 characters)

Photo of heygeebee
3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours mahogany, half a finger head, dies quickly. Zero lace.

Malty on nose, dry, earthy. mrs heygeebee described it as a 'matte' aroma, not glossy.

Taste is dry malt, a little bitterness, lacking something.

Mouthfeel light/watery, thin for ABV.

Overall, better as it warms, but really so middle of the road flavour wise it just doesn't stand out. (350 characters)

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Stonecutter from Renaissance Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.