1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red (Barrel Room Collection) - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red (Barrel Room Collection)Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red (Barrel Room Collection)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

642 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 642
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 15.2%
Wants: 40
Gots: 64 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in oak barrels; hand-bottled corked & caged; bottled-conditioned. A greater percentage of "Cosmic Mother Funk" was blended into this beer.

(Beer added by: Todd on 10-30-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 642 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ogre
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Discovered this on the shelf next to Rodenbach Grand Cru, and at $9/22.4oz, figured why not give it a go?

Pours a dark caramel brown with a healthy, creamy head. Aromas of bananas and light vanilla are dominated by...cherry throat lozenge?

Tart and sour flavors are on the lighter side. The taste, especially the aftertaste, has a medicinal, sweet-y, yes, throat lozenge quality. An interesting brew, and great to see another American brewer giving a swing at this style, but not something I'll be picking up again.

Ogre, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of GRUUMSH
3.75/5  rDev 0%

GRUUMSH, Dec 19, 2012
Photo of jmarsh123
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark red with a small white head. A bit of lacing and little retention.

Aroma features a bit of vino quality. A little acidic with some oak and other funk as well. A little bit of caramel malt.

A little bit of fruit/berry sweetness up front in the flavor. Not terribly sour although there is a bit of acidity and tartness, but more earthy/funky than straight sour. As with the nose, it is heavily oaked. Maltiness is a bit on the sweeter side although not overly so.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very dry finish.

Pretty impressed by this one. Not great, but tartness and funkiness are balanced with a lot of oak. I wish it were a tad less sweet, but otherwise solid effort.

jmarsh123, Dec 19, 2012
Photo of jeddis1
2/5  rDev -46.7%

jeddis1, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of Tilley4
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a lone bottle on my last venture out... I've seen it around for a while and I figured I better give it a try...

The first thing I get from the aromas is the vinous aspect for sure... Some oakiness and earthiness as well... some nice sweet malts... definitely some funk... Very unusual... Not overly tart aromas but there's enough there to keep me interested for sure... I'm curious to see where this one goes... I am getting a touch of booze off of it as well...

Lot of fruit present in the first sip and while it's not overpoweringly sour, it's nicely tart with a good earthy quality to it... The oak is loud and clear as well... The malts are more obvious than in other brews of the style and give this a slight sweetness not usually found in wilds.... It's a unique quality and one that I found sort of appealing. It gives the beer a little body and seems to cut the carbonation a little. I like this... I'm surprised at how drinkable it is...

I liked this beer... Very drinkable as the tartness isn't overwhelming and the sweetness of the malt helps to cut the carbonation and make this a nice drink...

Tilley4, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep reddish color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light tart notes with hint of cherries and light oak notes. Taste is a low acidity mix between tart cherries with light oak notes and subtle vinous notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Easy drinking sour with some complexity.

Phyl21ca, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of falloutsnow
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

More of a Flemish oud bruin than a red, at least by color and malt presence. The American wild ale may be most appropriate, as this is not brewed in Belgium at all. Sam Adams' Stony Brook Red is not as enjoyable to me due to its moderate tartness. This is, however, not overly sweet, and I appreciate this gesture towards not pacifying Americans' sweet tooth. The major flavors and aromas are caramel-like sweetness tempered by modest acidic tartness and cherry-like esters. Not a bad beer by any stretch, one that I wouldn't mind aging for three years and checking on its progress.

Pours a 1cm head of light tan foam, made up of dense, small bubbles. Retention is above average, lasting several minutes before settling to a thin cap atop the body of the beer that remains throughout the entire glass. Head leaves significant, attractive lacing along the sides of the glass: a mixture of large lines and circular clumps. Body is a hazy, dark brownish amber, with visible and modest carbonation. Light brings out a brighter brown-orange hue to the somewhat opaque body.

Aroma opens with caramel-like sweetness and a faintly tart, acidic, vinegary scent behind this. Next wave of scents settles out towards the end of an inhalation, with fairly faint tart cherries underneath and even more modest ethanol. Fairly complex, though perhaps a bit too subtle for its own good; would have liked to notice more of the barrel-aged and acidic qualities of the beer.

Tasting opens with caramel malt sweetness that has been slightly touched by acid-producing bacteria, yielding a minor tartness and cherry flavor. Mid-palate finds caramel malts with a bit of oak character and increased cherry character with tartness equivalent to that encountered upfront; ethanol also appears, though very minor. Back of palate detects cherry flavors with slightly more tartness than found at the front of the palate, modest sweetness, and more noticeable ethanol. Lingering aftertaste of toasted malts with oak characters and a slight, very subtle, tart cherry edge. Tartness is, overall, fairly mild, making this a good introduction to the style, perhaps.

Beer is medium bodied, through and through, with modest carbonation, creating a smooth, slightly foamy mouthfeel. Finishes dry, with very little residual stickiness on the palate.

falloutsnow, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +6.7%

TX-Badger, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of dt_gbpackersfan
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

dt_gbpackersfan, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of DaveAnderson
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'll admit it -- I'm not a huge fan of Sam Adams. I respect what they do, and recognize that they cleared a lot of trail for the American craft brew industry, but every time I drink one of their beers, I end up wishing they would take a little more risk. Their beers always end up on the safe side of interesting. So when my local shop told me they had a Sam Adams "Flanders Red", I was ready to take a pass.

However...

It was priced too low to blow off -- less than half the price of any other sour in the store. And the flip side of playing it safe is that Sam Adams has a high floor. At minimum, this beer won't suck, right? Only one way to find out.

A vigorous pour into a goblet produces a foamy, almond-colored head over a murky, mahogany and blood orange liquid. This quickly reduces to a thin head, leaving little lacing.

It smells like a sour. I'm also picking up cherries. And maybe it's just the power of suggestion, but now that I've written about the color, I smell almonds. This is supposed to be barrel-aged, but I'm no picking up any oak at all. As it warms, the cherry begins to take on a Ludens cough drop quality.

I don't catch any almond on the tongue. The cherry flavors are still abundant, however. And now I get a hint of the "toasted oak" promised on the label. Unfortunately, this just isn't sour enough. And I end up with a not entirely pleasant aftertaste.

If this had a more complex nose or more acid, I would probably be happy with the mouthfeel. But now I feel like being picky, so I'll say it: I wish it were more carbonated. On the other hand, it hides the 9% alcohol quite well.

I know I criticized Sam Adams for playing it too safe. With this beer, they show that they can color outside the lines just a little. It's pretty drinkable. I'm definitely going to buy some more, just to see how it ages. But for now, it's not going to replace any of my go-to sours.

EDIT: 2013-03-20
I keep finding this beer on the shelf at a price way too cheap to pass on, so I keep buying it and drinking it. It has grown on me considerably. It reminds me of before-the-best-after-date Dissident. I am nudging the taste and overall scores up a little.

DaveAnderson, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of jsbrew
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

jsbrew, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of JohnK17
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

JohnK17, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of BeerCon5
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, cloudy reddish color with about one finger of fluffy khaki head that doesn’t last long.

The scent is dominant of tart cherry, vinegary, underlying sweetness.

The taste is mainly the tart cherries with vinegar, some toasted malt and vanilla is noticeable.

Medium body, smooth and lightly crisp, moderate carbonation.

Overall this was a pretty nice beer, good flavor and the alcohol was well disguised.

BeerCon5, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of rangerred
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a nicely presented 750ml bottle.

Pours a clear dark ruby with a one finger dark tan head. Head fades away rather quickly leaving just the smallest amount of lacing.

Aroma comes across as overripe cherries along with figs and dates. There is a slight tartness and vinous characteristic. A hint of oak is present along with a little bit of funk. All is somewhat subdued compared to some Belgian wild beer I have had.

The flavor hits with overripe fruit immediately with a definite cherry juice characteristic in the background. I was expecting a ton more tartness based on the smell but it is rather restrained. A really nice touch of oak that blends nicely with some barnyard funk. The funk remains in the background and is not overpowering at all. Mouthfeel is medium with a rather dry finish which is quite nice. Alcohol is completely hidden making this beer feel more like 5 or 6 percent.

Overall, this beer would make a great introduction to Belgian sours as all characteristics are subdued and smooth. This kind of reminded me of a Flanders red. A nice job by Sam Adams and a good value.

rangerred, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of Rhcp1072
2.85/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had been looking forward to trying the line of Sam Adams Barrel-Room beers, and after trying the Thirteenth Hour, I was eager to try another. I poured it into a tumbler.

A - Very nice hazel color, with a hint of dark red. A good inch to an inch and a half of head complimented the beer into making it look very presentable.

S - Once I got a whiff of the SBR, I immediately knew that there was a big tart fruit smell (just like the bottle says). It honestly took me aback at first, seeing as this was my first "sour" beer, but it wasn't too overpowering.

T- Here's when it hit me. I was definitely not expecting this wine-like resemblance to be so prevalent from the get go. And it didn't let up; I was hoping to become acquainted with the newer tastes, but I just couldn't get used to it. To me, the fruit aspect and the Kosmic Mother Funk (the hops used for the Barrel Room beers) in this beer were too overpowering.

M- One of the better aspects of this beer was the way it did feel. I was expecting a thicker feel to it, seeing as the New World has a thicker aspect to it, but it was very smooth. The perfect balance of the carbonation and other ingredients made it a very enjoyable feel, just not so much on the taste. No sticky residue was left either, which was a plus.

O- Overall I think this beer is, well, average. It might be because I'm new to the whole "sour" beer, or it may just not just float my boat. Will I buy this beer again? Probably not, for the $10 it cost me, I could pick up a stout or something more enjoyable to me.

Rhcp1072, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of Erik
1.75/5  rDev -53.3%

Erik, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of a_sh0pping_cart
4.5/5  rDev +20%

a_sh0pping_cart, Dec 06, 2012
Photo of Twig2848
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Twig2848, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of JSkone09
4/5  rDev +6.7%

JSkone09, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of MudDrinker
3.75/5  rDev 0%

MudDrinker, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of valkyre65
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

valkyre65, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of strongaf
3.75/5  rDev 0%

strongaf, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of cjoc83
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy mahogany color with maybe a fingers worth of a light khaki head that doesn't stick around for long and leaves little to no lacing.

Tart cherries hit the nose along with generous amounts of oak and vinegar, with an underlying sweetness rounding things off.

Again, tart cherries are the first thing that jump out at you, but are quickly followed by toasted, woody oak, some barnyard funk, and some vanilla sweetness on the back end to balance things out. There's some very slight alcohol warmth as well, as to be expected at 9% ABV. A really nice take on a Flemish red. Reminds me of the Duchess quite a bit.

A surprisingly crisp mouthfeel, even though carbonation is low. Dry. Leaves a nice oaky, tart aftertaste.

Overall the Stony Brook Red was an excellent interpretation of a Flemish red ale. Great balance between the tart cherry flavor and the oak, vanilla, and funky Brett characteristics. I'm not the biggest fan of Sam Adam's regular lineup, but I've always (mostly) loved their Barrel Room Collection. This one is no exception, and in fact might be setting the new standard for the BRC. At $12 a bomber, you better believe I'll be picking up a few more of these guys!

cjoc83, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is copper hued with crimson highlights and a soft off-white head. The aroma offers oak, sour cherries, vinegar, red wine, yeast. Smells nice. The flavor is decent. A bit heavy and sweet for my liking, though the finish delivers sufficient tartness. Lots oak and a touch of vinegar. A heavy Flanders style brew. Better than I expected. I'd like to see more offerings like this from Samuel Adams.

Huhzubendah, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of MDF1IBetty
4/5  rDev +6.7%

MDF1IBetty, Nov 24, 2012
Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red (Barrel Room Collection) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 642 ratings.