Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier
Stone Brewing

Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier
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German Kölsch
3.79 | pDev: 11.08%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier
Notes: A black rye Kölsch-style ale, brewed by Stone Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankemeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler.
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Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 683
Photo of monkist
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I love Stone and everything they brew, I must admit that buying this beer was partially made by a mistake: when reading the label I only paid attention to it being a (rye) kölsch - I just forgot to notice that it was black so when I poured it in the glass I was surprised to see its pitch black color!
But Stone never fails, this one is a masterpiece as well. Though I have not much experience with this style of beer so I could not tell how kölsch-y it was, I only remember that type being more fruity, more like an apple than regular lagers. Here I did not find that fruity overtome, rather the roasted rye that made it feel like coffee overall, although it was again different from a black lager or an ale or a porter or a stout. Perhaps that is why it was a kölsch? It is all okay, nothing to complain about, it is great as a black beer. I am rather interested in the hoppy side though but still I was 100% satisfied with what this beer can do.

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Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle.
Appearance: Deep brown body, opaque in the glass, with a medium size khaki head that lingers for a good while. Partial sheets of lacing are left on the glass. lacing.

Aroma: rye, toasted multi-grain bread, yeast and chocolate.

Flavor: rich but modestly complex with lots of dark roasted grain flavor, some spicy rye, light hops and hints of bitter chocolate, toffee, roasted nuts and dark coffee. Mildly bitter.

Feel: Has a nice creaminess that suggests a full body but has a light bodied finish. Carbonation is near medium.

Overall: a really nice mixed-style beer. Tastes almost like a light rye porter.

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Photo of sejorules
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours dark brown black color, half a finger of dirty snow.
S: caramel, sweet coffee. Mix between brown ale and stout
T: First, sweet malt, raisins, spicy sort of like brown ale. Then there is a hint of bitterness. Finally, there is coffee, cocoa.
F: full of flavors and interesting details
O: really interesting I really liked the transitions.

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Photo of imnodoctorbut
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

served chilled from bomber to a stange german glass (yeehaw)
cellared for 2 years, y'all.

A: pours a beautiful opaque near-black with a decent lightly burnt tan head with excellent retention and some lovely sticky lacing.
S: chocolate toffee roasted maltiness, rye and smoke start things off, then it's an earthy bittersweet with a hint of booze.
T: follows the aroma with the pleasant addition of dark fruit and a bit of light hop earthy bitterness. rye is in fine form here.
F: medium body, fairly low carbonation. coats the tongue

bottomline (aka personal opinion time):
sublime. complete deviation from the style, and may not be for everyone (obviously, what brew is?) but if you like weird, then here's a great example of how to get weird and still have an incredibly balanced brew. just like my rough looking biker uncle, this brew looks a lot harsher than it actually is, and is definitely one you should get to know if you aren't usually one for darker just might find a new best friend.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, pours black brown with a decent finger of tan coloured head. Aroma chocolate, dark malts, toffee, cocoa. Taste follows the nose very nice.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice black color, with some nice carbonation, with a nice creamy one-finger tan head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice slight chocolate notes. The taste is pretty tasty, malty, chocolate. Medium body. Overall a pretty tasty brew, wish it were fresher. Totally different take on the style.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours completely opaque black that allows not light to pierce through it. Head is an inch and a half of mocha color that retains very well. Leaves behind a fair amount of lacing.

S: Aromas of dark roasted malts, cocoa, and rye initially. Then toffee, dark fruits, and a subtle burnt mahogany aroma. Finishes with earthy smells, smoke, and a slight alcohol note.

T: Dark roasted malts, dark roast coffee, cocoa, and a distinct smokiness up front, in the middle, subtle flavors of dark fruit, toffee, and smoked wood. Finishes with flavors of rye, and earthy hops, with a slight black pepper spice and cocoa aftertaste.

M: Light to medium in body, with a moderate level of carbonation. Smooth with a slick finish.

O: A enjoyable brew that I wish I had a fresher bottle of. I enjoyed it but can't help but feel like it was lacking something. It's sad I found this in our discount section and didn't see it when it was fresh. But all that aside I did like what they did with this one a nice easy drinking black Kolsch that I would recommend if they decide to brew it again.

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Photo of JamesStreet
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one had a bit of dust on it but still poured a great-looking pour. Deep brown with a nice 1" khaki head that lingered on for a good bit. Sporadic lacing.
Smell is of rye bread, roasted barley, chocolate, bitter coffee grounds. Not boozy at all
Taste follows suit of the aroma. A little hop bite on the front end mixed with some bitter chocolate. I also pick up the spiciness of the rye. There is a bit of a nutty, almond hint, maybe due to the age.
Feel, in contrast to the color of the beer, is surprisingly light. Carbonation is fair.
Overall, better than I was expecting. I liked the melding of the easy-drinkability of a Kolsch with the spicy rye notes and roasty notes. Tastes almost like a porter.

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Photo of stevoj
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from On the Fly Gasmart. Pours out almost true black, big beige, airy head, subsides quickly. Aroma is more roast grain than rye, but some grain sourness is present. Taste is where the rye comes into its own, funky, sour, musty, backed up with some burnt toast, roast grain bitterness. Finishes fast and clean, body is light like a kolsch. Nicely done.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed form the 22 oz bottle. This unique brew pours a muddy dark blackish brown with a moderate tan head that dissipates to a thick ring, a thin layer, and light lacing. Nose of subdued cocoa, moderate grain notes, and light caramel. Flavors surpass the light nose with moderately strong deeply roasted malts with mild caramel and cocoa notes that verge on burnt with a lightly bitter aftertaste from hops. Lightly chewy mouth feel finishes clean. Odd I do not taste the standard spicy rye notes, but more of a roasted flavor. A truly unique brew that is highly quaffable. Very nice. A stout drinkers kolsch.


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Photo of Apellonious
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber, bottled something/04/14, (hoping its more later 14 than the 4/14/14 it looks like) poured into a stange. So much for Drink Fresh. I take some responsibility (even though I bought it last week), as I knew this was no longer being brewed, but was anxious to give it a try.

A - Dark black/brown with a fluffy two finger head.

S - Roasted grains and malts.

T- Follows the nose, with dark fruit and mild spice on the finish as it warms.

M - Very smooth, carbonation medium low. Somewhat light mouthfeel.

O - A decent offering, the first black rye kolsch I have had, so I don't have much to compare it to. Wonder what it was like fresh, but this was still worthy of a try.

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Photo of Trooper92292
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really impressed by this beer. Not too heavy but not too light, looks can be deceiving. It's a great beer and the taste is really something else. More focused on malts than hops and gets the job done. It's something different but I like it.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Looks and tastes like a porter. Freshness date was too smudged to read, but I see that it has supposedly been retired. Tastes carbonated but has very little head. Odd.

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Photo of Gear54
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber into a snifter.

Pour is black with 1 finger if kaki head that fades fast and light lace around the glass.

Smell is biscuit malts and sweetness. Rye in the background makes it unique.

Taste is light hops and malts finished with light coffee and chocolate. All flavors are light and airy.

Feel is smooth an refreshing. Very Kolsh like. Creamy with light carbonation. Nice feel.

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

-nice brown head that could have stayed longer but still good
- a mellow roasted grain slight bitter
- slight possible coffee but mild dryness with a smooth roasted head
- creamy smooth body
- great beer a dark flavorful beer almost Russian imperial but easy ale smoothness

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"Out of 19 amazing beers brewed by 19 teams of the best brewers at Stone Brewing Co., Steve Wagner (Co-founder & President), Greg Koch (Co-founder & CEO), and Mitch Steele (Brewmaster) chose this one after a blind tasting of the top nine beers. As we write this, we are honored and humbled by the decision to select our beer for the very first Stone Brewing Co. Spotlight Series release." Brewed in the hybrid style of a Dark Kolsch with rye added. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited release draft. Entry #1 in the Spotlight Series.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a solid foamy head of a toasted mocha complexion over a nearly jet black body. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Aromas of biscuity german, pale and cracker malts with a moderate sweetness come close to expectations for the style. Undertones of delicate roast, cocoa nibs and subtle toasted rye and toffee malts are the exception that provide for the black-as-night color, although these are softly implemented in the aroma, they are more direct as the beer warms, and the aroma creeps towards Schwartzbier with its accessible, yet substantial dark beer aromatics. There is a soft earthy and moderately fruity hop profile with a light bitterness. Beer smells clean and moderately sweet over bitter, potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) The flavor starts off mildly Kolsch-like, with prevalent pale and cracker malts and a light grassy hop profile and a light grape acidity before exposing darker flavors, finishing with a delicate note of medium roast, coffee and a pinch of chocolate, lightly bodied yet prevalent. Moderate roasted flavors with a high accessibility, slightly sweet overall but not cloyingly so. Light and very clean but flavorful. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slightly creamy, lightly chewy, clean and lightly acidic tart, finishing with a soft dryness. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium/heavy for the style, medium overall. Balance is moderately sweet over bitter and tart. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A very interesting hybrid style that may be confused as a Schwarzbier if not for the soft acidity of the Kolsch style as well as the tanginess of the rye malts, which offer a decent balance for the soft yet sweet malt profile. Dark malt flavors are ever present without becoming overbearing. It's a very pleasing beer and one worth trying. Looking forward to lower gravity options by Stone in the near future and other beers under the Spotlight Series label. 3.75

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Sprocket Bier

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, no visible packaging date.

The beer is a very dark brown that verges on opaque, with a generous light tan head. So, this is a kolsch, but is breaking the mold. It looks nice.

Rye, dark bready, and slightly smoky. A little chocolate. This smells like porter, nothing else. A good porter.

It tastes much like a porter as well. There is a little rye snap, a dry pumpernickel flavor, that tangy yeastiness. Chocolate powder and tart.

Light body, medium carbonation, provably the place where it comes nearest it's kolsch roots.

I like it a lot. There is a good amount of smokiness that I didn't expect. It's a hard beer to rate because it's outside it's style so much.

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Photo of PostRockandCats
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pours an unusual, but intriguing dark brown with a finger tan head that sticks around. Certainly not typical of the style, but I scored them high as

S: mild. Malty and fruity with dark fruits and caramel notes.

T: Fruity and chocolaty with lots of chocolate and caramel malt notes. A bit smokey-dry at the end. Not very heavy, but still nice.

M: Medium with moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This is not at all what I expected when I saw "Kölch" on the label at first. It's more indicative of a stout than a traditional pale of the name, but I have no complaints. Delicious, drinkable and sessionable. Another solid from Stone!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tulip glass from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance: Thin black color with a dark brown tint to it. Heavy bubbles in the body with a tan head rising to maybe 1/3".

Smell: Bland scent, hops and light malt.

Taste: I really like it. Definitely not an acquired really tend to like it right away. It's lightly bitter with a dark chocolate feel minus any type of sweetness.

Mouth: light sticky, with a bitter sour after-taste.

Overall: Not a bad brew but could use a bit of tweaking, maybe it's because I haven't had a lot of experience with Kolsch beers. Worth sharing the bottle with friend, salad!

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass. Pitch black brew with a velvety root beer colored head, fluffy, creamy, and resilient.

Aroma recalls cacao power, pumpernickel bread, and musty root cellar with a subtle fruitiness that recalls citrus soda bottle caps. Very reminiscent of a schwarzbier with added fruity esters a la the kolsch style. Loving the aroma although others may deem it unassuming and mellow.

The palate again recalls a schwarzbier/ale hybrid with rather a lot going on if one cares to plumb the depths. The dry chocolate and earthy root flavors from the nose are initially present in abundance along with subtle cherry and lemon-lime notes. Mid-way though a licorice candy and molasses element shows up and later one notices a sweet hazelnut and milk chocolate vibe that assumes the helm as the initial dry bitter elements recede. Pumpernickel and leafy greens linger throughout. A toffee-like sweetness lurks way in the background if one cares to look. Rye spice gathers steam over the course of multiple sips. A slight red berry waif peeks though.

As to mouthfeel, this is obviously heavier than your average kolsch but still retains considerable drinkability. Once more the schwarzbier comparisons are in order. Moderate to high carbonation with some welcome hop resin prickliness. Faint wood char in the dry bread-like finish. Obviously this beer is supposed to be bastardized, cutting across multiple style domains. Faulting it for not tasting like a classic kolsch seems pedantic and persnickety. In my view this is a more than worthwhile exercise in tasting gymnastics.

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Photo of Barnoloid
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As dark as pumpernickel bread with a similar rye aroma. The smokiness and rye notes dominate up front here. This is an interesting beer, has a mealy mouthfeel. Almost like drinking a reuben sandwich. Enjoyable but would likely not seek out again unless pairing with food.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: [3.75] Pours jet black. Looks viscous and oily. The head is only 1/2 finger but is a nice mocha color. The bottle lists the ABV at 5.4% and it had a date - it is on the neck but it was written in some easily smudgable ink - so it is useless.

S: [3.50] Poured cold the nose is a bit stingy. I am getting hints of coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. But just barely.

T: [4.00] While cold the beer tastes like coffee and bitter chocolate. It is really a nice flavor. I am also picking up roasted malts. As it warmed up it shifted to a more malty overall flavor.

M: [4.25] Nice mouthfeel. Decent carbonation but still creamy.

O: [3.75] By look, smell, taste and mouthfeel I'd call this a stout. The label says otherwise. Either way it is really tasty. A lot of flavor packed into 5.4% ABV. A well made and well executed beer. I would like to have it again.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone World Bistro in Escondido, CA. Served in a stemmed glass 12/14/14.

A- Dark brown body, in most lighting this appears black, like a stout. Big fluffy one finger white head with fair retention time, average longevity and average lacing.

S- Rich roasted malt aromas, a bit of citrus and lemon zest, a bit of sharp spiciness and even a bit of smoke. Nice complexity to the nose here. Smells great.

F- Just like in the nose, there is a nice complexity and an unique combination of flavours that works quite well here. Rye spiciness, roasted malt, milk chocolate, cocoa, espresso and citrus, lemon flavours. A bit of bitter citrus on the back-end as well, but this is not a particularly bitter beer by any means. Not as much smoke here as in the nose.

M- Not watery thin, but not substantially thick either. Rich cocoa and roasted malt bitterness on the finish. Nice rich mouthfeel that is bigger than the beer itself is. Very drinkable.

O- I could drink this all day. Rich flavours and 5.4% ABV, nice rich mouthfeel and very drinkable beer. This one is underrated in my opinion and would buy if I saw this in my distribution.

Final score: 4.13

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Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a clear mug.

Appearance: extremely dark brown with a fair bit of haze to the body and a thick finger of frtohy tan foam. Completely nontraditional for the style, but a good looking beer.

Smell: lightly roasty and sweet with just a hint of lagery yeastiness. Reminds me a lot more of a schwarzbier than a Kölsch, but still a nice aroma.

Taste: a little smoky at first, which I like, with a roasty middle and a slightly caramel finish. Whatever the style, it's damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: whatever this style is supposed to be, that hint of smoke puts me firmly onboard. I dig it.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%

- black rye kolsch style.

(3.80) A: Coffee exit from the bottle with a thin, but amazingly sturdy, dark corkboard colored head that had a firm cream consistency. Slow, steady streams of effervesce rise in methodical fasion as it creeps up along the vessel walls.

(3.65) S: Aroma was softy but fresh, smoothering charred wood with wet, dark roast coffee grounds and a added hint of dry pine brush. Perfumy delivery.

(3.80) T: Flavor was freshly charred wood and dark roast, earthy bitterness with a wet campfire minerality. Mid-palate showed some charred citrus hop flower, dough, and light hints of apple-plum yeast factors. A big mention of sweet burnt caramel and finish of peppery spicing with sweet burnt currant-fruitiness.

(3.80) M: Oily roast mouthful, medium body, slick, dry, decent carbonation.

(3.80) O: provides a deep dark roastiness in a 5.4% packaging which many may overlook or have trouble believing. Roasted coffee and yeasty fruitiness that drinks much bigger then expected. Nice blending. Don't expect a true Kolsch style here, with more and more breweries blurring the lines its hard to hold one accountable when it doesn't fit snuggly into one clearly defined parameter, when it clearly was never intended to be in the first place. outside the box.

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 683 ratings