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Stonecutter - Renaissance Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

64 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 64
Hads: 115
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 12.63%
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.
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 115
Photo of CanuckRover
4.41/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near-black red... at the right angle it's a dark, dark, dark, garnet. My bottle gives off a massive, rocky, rollicking, mocha head, that puffs up out of my Duvel tulip. Lacings are thick and sticky, like an icecream float.

I don't like Scotch in the least, so the aroma of this actually has me worried. Refined, comforting smoke, like from a wood-burning stove. A bit of alcohol lingering behind the smokey malt. Actually had to check the bottle again to make sure this didn't have a shot or two in it.

Just a masterwork in malt blending. Smooth up front, ripe red fruit gradually melds with sweet toffee, which gives way to chocolate covered cherries. Smokey finish with just the slightest bitterness, not acrid in the least.

Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on, at times I think a touch too much carbonation, but I'm being nitpicky.

A brilliant go at the style. A must try for malt fiends.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured an amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with light cereal notes is pleasant though not as rich as I would have expected. Taste is also dominated by cereal notes with dry caramel grainy notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad though I prefer scotch ale sweeter and with bigger malt profile.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Farmers' Cabinet, Philly, PA

This will go down as my first beer from the fine nation of New Zealand, and I'm glad to have had it on tap. Dark mahogany-maroon color, almost gem-like, with a small cap of off-white head that receded to a thin ringlet. Aroma is basically caramel malts and a touch of smoke. Smooth on the palate, caramel, wort, smoked malts, dark fruits, mineral, cocoa powder, toasted wood. Body was about medium, and it went down smooth with really nothing to offend the senses.

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3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of BGDrock
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: huge effervescence; dull red/brown like strawberry juice; cloudy and almost opaque

Aroma: sweet caramel malts; fruity; mild

Taste & Mouthfeel: starts with roasted malt and hints of coffee, and finishes with a smokiness that is balanced by very dry, hoppy bitterness; the smokey flavour is assertive, bringing to mind a single malt - even feels like the peat is there; smooth, with a medium body; dark caramel flavour comes through as it warms

Overall: love the smokey touch and interesting malt flavours, but the finish is almost too dry; makes you want to be sitting in a dark, rustic pub by the fire

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Photo of TheHammer
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? I really expected to see that Stonecutter double claw hammer for this beer as the label. Oh well.

Appearance: Solid two fingers of head that produced decent lace and retained very well. The body is a dark ruby color whose body boasts steady carbonation but quite a bit of fine sediment as well.

Smell: There is a lot there but it's subdued. Warming really is a must here. A powerful thick caramel malt dominates the nose with dates, berries, walnuts and tea with a note of smoke.

Taste: Rich caramel malt with fruity berries and dates that give way to a somewhat overly powerful smokey roasted chestnut taste with a touch of plum and raisins. The smoke consistently stays around as a kick of rather bitter tea and slightly peaty hops finishes it off.

Mouthfeel: It does start to cloy a bit on the back of the tongue after a while, and the bitter hit at the end doesn't know when to leave. Sweet malt burps and nice carbonation and nice, almost sweeping transitions offer a good tradeoff though.

Drinkability: The cloying needs to go, and while it's left me burping, the after effects are pleasant. It's medium bodied so I wouldn't pack it away all night, but certain a good jumping off point or finishing touch. I can really see this going well with lamb.

Final Thoughts: Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? I'll stop, but much like this line of the song, this beer is surprisingly off the map it would seem, which is a shame because it is quite good. It's certainly not one of my top beers, but it's pretty solid all around. Good job New Zealand, I really hope this beer wasn't brewed to make me crave New Zealand lamb though.

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Photo of bryehn
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, copper-amber colour with a medium tan head. Good retention, minor lacing.

The aroma is fantastic. Dates, wood, a slight smoky texture and caramel. Notes of berries and nuts too.

Hearty, woody taste, with nuts and milk chocolate rounding out the body. The finish is dry.

Full-bodied with a low carbonation, bread and syrup qualities on the tongue. Finish has a cigar smoke character.

Very nice sipping beer, will try again if I come across it.

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Photo of mintjellie
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mahogany brown and murky looking. Definitely unfiltered. Stonecutter is topped by a massive, retentive, and lacy pale tan head. Mild, pleasant aroma of freshly baked shortbread cookies, brown sugar, and raisins. Sweet and malty up front with notes of biscuit and treacle toffee. Raisin, plum, and faint hints of cacao in the midpalate. Finishes with a mild bitterness and light alcohol warmth. Raisin comes back in the burp. Medium-full body, medium carbonation. Could use a bit more heft. Nice beer to curl up with after a long day of classes, on the rare night I'm homework free.

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Photo of
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a duvel glass

Deep red amber with a large rocky beige head. Very decent retention and lacing.

Aromas of shortbread, uncooked bread dough and toasted malt. A little subdued here.

The palate is a little more promising with toffee and chocolate bursting forward. Blueberry jam and salted caramel aswell.

Mouthfeel feels a little thin and watered down.

Solid beer. Renaissance seems to do really nice malty beers. I would buy this again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Disneyland thistle glass (it's the only thistle glass I have!) in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of great cream, nice full thickness and foam, and great retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Heavy toasted malt, caramel, and biscuity bready notes. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Pleasant warm toasted malt alongside biscuity caramelized malt notes and a bit of bready cream. Rich and balanced, if a bit simply done for the style. It's everything you'd expect from a Scotch Ale, but it doesn't rise above expectations. Built well. An enjoyable Scotch Ale.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but with some hefty thickness that limits the drinkability. Suits the flavours well, and is to style.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable for the style. It's everything you'd expect, but nothing more. Fans of the style would do well to try this one.


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Photo of spinrsx
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of Conrad
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An excellent brew. Nice deep copper-mahogany colour, lovely foam that lasted and left fine lacing. Aroma of dark fruit and toasted malt. Taste: Good balance of malt and yeasty hops, with lots of complex notes that I couldn't name. (My palate is not as refined as some). Mouthfeel is perfect. Not too watery or too thick and creamy. Finish is long and smooth, with a voice telling me to go have another. A favourite, but too expensive to be my regular tipple. If you're going to buy me a beer, make it a Stonecutter.

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Photo of
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - ruby-brown with a tan head that fades to a persistent ring.

Smell - Dried fruit and malt predominate and are complimented by barrel character and a slight herbal quality.

Taste and Mouthfeel - On the fuller side of medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Flavours of dried fig and molasses, oak, and herbal bitterness on the finish.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby chestnut in colour, with a billowing head that slowly recedes into a half inch layer of foam. Lots of lacing - looks great for the style!

Nose is malty and peaty, with a mild booziness. A bit of smoke and caramel as well.

A terrific wee heavy - really enjoyed this. Sweet and malty, but this is kept in check nicely. A real smoky and peaty character defines this brew and makes it a fantastic sipper. Maybe some leather as well. Finishes with a fruity sweetness.

Thin bodied, but good carbonation and nice mouthfeel.

Great wee heavy - I'd certainly recommend this as an example of the style. My first (great) beer from New Zealand!

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A cloudy red-brown amber, with clear red highlights at the glassfront but opaque when held up to light. Limited cappuccino coloured head. Carbonation level is pleasant and mouthfeel leans towards oiliness, albeit without a "coating" feeling afterwards.

Aroma hits the style dead-on, very malt-heavy with the oak, peat, bourbon and barrel notes associated with "Scotch ale". Flavours follow suit with a smoky, bitter finish. The beer's 7% ABV warming alcohol is great for a cool night.

Not my favourite style, but I'd consider this an excellent example of it.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of BBP
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish chesnut hue with a head and carbonation that doesn't give up. Some light lacing enhances the already solid appearance.

The aroma is fruity and malty at the same time. There's about half malt character and half seems to smell like apple and raisin.

The flavor seems fairly close to the aroma. The only addition I'd make is that the malt is far more dominant in the flavor especially in the aftertaste. The peat and spicy hops nearly bury the fruitiness in no time.

The mouthfeel is a bit light, but considerably full. Carbonation is very gentle and somewhat in the background. The finish is moderately dry and moderately sticky.

Overall, this beer exceeded my expectations a little. I thought a light Scotch Ale could very well be an accident waiting to happen, but this provides enough flavor to not let you down. I wish it did have a bit more intensity, but for a 7% beer it does alright. The fruitiness was also quite interesting. I'd recommend checking it out.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown-amber with a thin off-white head, some slight lacing.

Smells of caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, a sweet berry-like character and some nuttiness to top it off. Interesting.

Tastes of sweet, dark fruits upfront, caramel, toffee, chocolate, finishes nutty with a nice bitterness derived from the hops. Very complex.

Somewhat of a thin mouthfeel, not as thick as I was expecting, but overall still a wonderful beer!

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Photo of liamt07
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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