Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier | Stone Brewing

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Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A black rye Kölsch-style ale, brewed by Stone Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankemeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler.

Added by babaracas on 04-18-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 680
Photo of GabrielBelm0nt
4.8/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Easily my #2 favorite beer by stone. The black rye is what makes this beer so good for me. The fact that it's a Kölsch makes it a nice easy to drink beer. It's the type of beer i'd have socially and could definitely drink a lot of. Nothing fancy but has all the characteristics that i personally like in a beer when drinking at a social event.

I love the nice toasty notes with hints of chocolate from the black rye. It's not too strong due to the fact that it's a Kölsch style, but it does add hints of spiciness to it. To me it drinks similar to a porter, but a bit more carbonated than a porter. One of my personal favorites.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.51/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured slow with no head, so upped the vigor and before I new a massive tan 3.5 finger head formed. Body is absolutely opaque, dark as the darkest RIS. Head was thick and creamy, took a while to dissipate. Left a good amount, atleast .5 finger the whole time, tons of sticky lacing... this looks amazing.

S - Aroma of roasted barley, chocolate, big malt notes, bready, toasted almond, peppery yeast. slight piney hops notes.

T - Taste was surprisingly great deluge of porter and kolsch style. It has a porter like malt taste, with tons or roasted barley, smoke, chocolate, even some coffee grinds, but also has a light crisp kolsch-esque malt body in mix... this really melds well. Hops take a back seat but are very prevalent, nice piney up front and very bitter in the back, but not too bitter.. the roasted barley taste lingers long after the sip making me want more

M - This poured thick, but didnt feel too thick, what I would expect for carbonation for the style, finish is crisp but slightly on the sweet side.

O - This has a ton of flavor for 5.4%, and is very crushable. The appearance is amazing, the head never completely dissipated for me and always was present. I don't get much of the rye flavor, maybe in some of the sweetness. Great beer all around.

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Photo of imnodoctorbut
4.41/5  rDev +15.4%
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 neenerzig
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my stange glass out of a bomber 22 oz bottle. This beer pours a solid dark brown, almost black color that lets in no light whatsoever. Has a tan head about an inch thick when poured that eventually settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with clusters of foam sitting on the beers's surface. Pretty good lacing here too. Aromas of toasted bready caramel malty sweetness, hints of chocolate and peppery spice and rounded out with a nice pine hop back bone. The taste is pretty much the same with a big bready toasted caramel malt sweetness upfront that gives way to some chocolate notes with rye and pepper notes and it is all rounded out with a nice pine hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. Very interesting and unique and damn down right tasty mix of flavors here! Really well done! Has a crispy, slightly prickly yet somehow also fairly smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy drinking. Makes a damn fine session beer. Worth a try for sure, and i hope Stone decides to do this one again in the future.


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Photo of crvcac
4.34/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer is innovative and a nice take on the style with a new spin. Overall, this beer was extremely drinkable and was clean from start to finish. Not what you'd expect from drinking a Kolsch, but I give it to them for being innovative. Was refreshing to drink a stone beer without the typical stone hop profile that all of there beers seem to have. 4/5. Worth picking up for sure (a little pricey IMHO).

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Photo of MaddestHatter
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It is really hard to characterize this beer in any way other than "good." It is an incredibly interesting mix of the dark roast maltiness of something like a stout (or more accurately a Schwarzbier since it's a lager) with the slight hop bite of a Kölsch and the mild spiciness from the rye. These characteristics altogether render a very complex and strongly flavorful, yet incredibly drinkable beer that I could easily down pints of in a pub all day, or at least at lunchtime with a ploughman's or sandwich.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really nice variation of beer. It's extremely well balanced and thoroughly drinkable. I had a feeling when I bought that it would not last a hour from when I got home from the store. I poured the whole bomber in a big cut glass stein, and I and sure I will have it finished in a few minutes.

It pours a deep, nearly opaque black/brown with nice head and loads of lacing. The aroma is sweet malty with some roasty smell and less finishing hops than I would like (but I am not complaining).

The taste is a wonderful mix of a slightly bitey kolsch, plus roast malts (the rye, I assume). There is not an overabundance of hoppy taste, just the right amount. In fact, this is one of the best balanced brews I have had in a while - a great achievement in making interesting beer that is still drinkable and refreshing. I think it would be great to suck down TWO bombers of this, but I won't be doing that.

The aftertaste is a nice lingering goodness. I highly recommend this great beer - get it while you can!

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Photo of sejorules
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
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 pkalix
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

very dark brown pour, very tan and brown fluffy head. was creamy at first, then fluffy.
am I smelling chocolate in there? roasted malt, for sure....
taste is kind of chocolate-y, lots of malt and barley, slight rye bitterness. medium mouthfeel.
like others have voiced, not how I expected it to taste given the style compared to others I've had, but a decent brew. medium on the mouthfeel and overall a decent brew.

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Photo of MDHopster
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A) dark black with nice head
T) smoky, chocolate and fruit with rye, mild bitterness. Would pair well with beef or venison or as a dessert beer
S) smoky with hints of fruit
m) silklike smoothness, pleasantly carbonated
O) don't know if this will ever return due to spotlight series status, but if it does it could become my go to beer during its release

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Poured into a snifter.

3.75 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is good and plenty of spotty lacing is left.

4.0 S: This smells great! The kolsch is certainly there with a sweet grassiness and mineral earthiness. In addition there's a moderate roastiness, cocoa powder, and caramel sweetness.

4.25 T: Tastes like it smells. The grassy hay sweet maltiness works wonders with the roastiness.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Supremely smooth.

4.5 D: This shouldn't work, but it does. I hope this sticks around.

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Photo of JAFoley
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Dark, nearly opaque body with nice tan foamy head. Retention last forever and lots of nice lacing.

S - Nutty, chocolate, and cherry.

T - Nice bitter citrus hops upfront help cut the deep smokey malts, chocolatey and cherry.

M - Full body with moderate carbonation. Incredibly smooth, slick, and very drinkable.

O - So many great flavors and so drinkable, especially for a heavier beer. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A "black rye kölsch". Sure, why not. 22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black, with a rather surprisingly thick body. Head forms a very fine ring of beige, but little more. Even the initial pour only yielded a slight foaming. Minimal lace, and the carbonation is invisible in the darkness. Looks good even so.

Nose is very pleasant. Dark and spicy with a little toasty sweetness and rye bread. It doesn't go overboard on the roast though and get harsh or stout-like. There's a cleanness to it as well, and a bright, slightly fragrant farmyard note to it. Yeah, it's nice stuff.

Taste is also very good. It has a smoothness to it that cushions the lighter flavours, while allowing the spicy rye to roll around the tongue. Toastiness comes through again, but again the dark character is very well restrained: it never gets close to being roasty, or worse acrid. Indeed it feels very supple from start to finish. On the back, there's a linger of dark fruit which provides the punctuation you'd find from crispness otherwise.

Overall, really quite wonderful stuff. This is interesting and unusual, but done with such conviction and integration of flavours that it seems classic.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger tan head which slowly fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A roasty and bready malt driven aroma with good hints of chocolate and grains. Roasted malts with upfront hints of chocolate, biscuit, grains, caramel, yeast, cracker, and a little coffee and smoke. Hints of spice. Earthy hops with some hints of grass. Subtle dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, and prune. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely roasty and bready malt forward taste with good notes of chocolate and grains. Dark roasted barley malts with upfront notes of chocolate, coffee, grains, biscuit, caramel, lager yeast, cracker, and a little smoke. Dark fruit undertones with some notes of cherry, prune, and raisin. Earthy hops in the background with notes of grass and a little pine spice. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, silky, and pretty smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid twist on the Kolsch style. Good creamy dark malt notes. Its kind of like a porter.

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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 scratch69
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I poured a bottle into a mug.

Appearance- Almost black color with dark brown highlights. Two fingers worth of thick, tan head which lingers for quite a while. Loads of clingy lacing.

Smell- A mellow roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

Taste- Just like the nose with some notes of bread, smoke, and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

Overall- A delicious and very enjoyable beer. It reminded me at times of a porter or a black lager. I will be buying this again (if there is any left.)

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Photo of plaid75
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a black hue with a one finger frothy tan head. There was Goid retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured roasted malts, charcoal and an herbal hop.

The taste was likewise roasted with a cleansing hop spice.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

I don't know what the hell this beer is, but it is good.

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Photo of Resuin
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This was bottled on 03/23/14.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown/near black and leaves a finger of sticky tan head which lingers for a while before slowly fading to a tan layer atop the beer.

Smell: Bready malts, light floral hops, hints of dark chocolate and mild coffee.

Taste: Light chocolate malts, banana bread, roasted malts, mild floral hops. Ridiculously smooth and easy drinking. Fantastic mild finish.

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation with a medium, creamy body. Really nice and smooth finish.

Overall: Super well balanced, and really easy drinking. If this were cheap and in 6 packs I would go through a lot of this. Really impressive.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Pours deep brown with a fat tan head that lingers, thick coat of lacing in my glass from start to finish. Aroma of dark bready malt and rye up front, milk chocolate, mild grassy hop aroma rounds it out nicely. Taste is mildly sweet, toasted pumpernickel bread, dried dark fruits, and a perfect amount of hop bitterness to let your palate know it's a Stone beer. Mouthfeel is true to the style - light and delicate with a decent amount of effervescence - drinks like a lager. Hop bitterness lingers well after the other flavors dissipate without being over the top.

Interesting twist on a session beer but it works very well - i'm on my second bottle as I type this review. Definite summer-time drinker that even Dieter himself would approve of!

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Photo of Stevedore
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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 Gear54
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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 WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Rye Kolsch style ale, I've never had one of those before I'll try it. Pours pitch black in the glass with a thicket of tan head leaves fine speckled lacing behind. I like the abv and the fact that this was Rick & Robbie's time to shine (two homebrewers from SoCal) who won a homebrewer's contest.

Aroma clean malt driven hard to pick up classic dark beer character more just crisp grains, herbal hops, pretty unique beer. Herbal mint, clean German ale character it's weird!!!

Flavor brings spicy rye, dark roasted malts, still super easy drinking black rye kolsch style characteristics are evident...masterfully brewed and crafted. Almost creamy milk chocolate with less sweetness dry herbal hops again weaved effortlessly to dry it out, into a crisp enjoyable finish.

Mouthfeel smooth creamy textured, crisp finish balanced sturdy carbonation everything hits where it should on the palate. I know this isn't traditional Stone, but it's damn good.

Overall, this let's me know that creativity and brewing culture in America is alive and well, we will never stop innovating because we have no boundaries in our brewing styles this 5.4% Sprocket beer labeled as a black rye kolsch proves it!

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Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got from Beer Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It has a chocolate chip cookie taste. It is very smooth. It is creamy and balanced. There is a mild rye taste. Definitely earth. Very easy to drink and while it's a tamed rye flavor, it definitely comes through and doesn't get overpowered by a metallic taste the way some black IPAs will.

It has basically a black color, but brown hints around the edges. It had a minimal off-white head and no real lacing. Beautiful rye and hoppy scent. A bit of a metallic scent.

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Photo of Rootscipio
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark blackish with coppery red highlights. The head is a frothy greyish brown head that quickly diminishes to a slight top coating..
Smell is of bready malt and spicy rye notes.
Taste spicy rye blended with bitter chocolate with a lingering hoppy bitter end note.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall this beer is really well balanced and enjoyable. I liked it allot more than I thought I would. Hopefully they will re release it at some point.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into tulip. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a very deep dark chocolate brown, near black, with a large, thick, and soft looking light brown head that faded to a faint collar leaving spotty lace down the glass.
S: Notes of coffee, spicy rye, and smoke dominate. Cigarette smoke, char, and slight weed smoke come through as well. There are peppery, almost chipotle-like notes too.
T: The base kolsh shines through and reminds me this isn't a porter or stout. Smoke is milder, but the spicy rye is nice and tingly. The finish is sweet and woody, and I almost get a fruity hint of berries. The aftertaste is tingly, earthy, and spicy with rye. Light kolsh yeast still present, raisin aftertaste. Coco is mild.
M: Soft tingly carbonation, medium body, sweet and smooth mouthfeel. Tingly rye adds a nice kick.
O: Better than expected. Great rye flavor mixed with light German lager. Pretty unique, and definitely delicious.

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing
3.82 out of 5 based on 680 ratings.
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