Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier | Stone Brewing

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86
very good
681 Ratings
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Spotlight Series: SpröcketbierSpotlight Series: Spröcketbier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
681
Reviews:
125
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
10.99%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
35
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 681 |  Reviews: 125
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Quique for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, rye, herb, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with char, herb, and rye flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is quite roasty and has an interesting herb presence.

 616 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a dark rye kolsch? well this is new to me. soft but pungent too on the rye, not as peppery or as spicy, but the flavor of the grain is still quite prominent. dark coffee colored beer with a brighter carbonation accumulating an inch or so of mocha colored head. almost looks like a nitro tap with the size of these tiny bubbles. roasted barley and chocolate flavors smell strong, but the yeast and the general lightness of this dark brew are also evident. very clearly not a porter or stout. the flavor has all the rye on the front end which i like, and still feels german enough on the grain front for me to accept this as a kolsch. its lightness helps too, barely medium bodied and carbonated extremely well. the feel kind of makes it for me. i like the rye front loaded too, so the finish is still quick. a very flavorful yet approachable beer for anyone looking to try a little something different.

 901 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short, light tan head that quickly died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass along with some lacing running down the sides.
S: Light aromas of dark and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, having flavors of roasted malts and bits of spicy rye along with hints of grapes.
M: It feels a bit shy of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink and has a good amount of flavors for a beer of its drinkability. If I didn't see the label of this bottle, I would have thought that this was a porter, not a kölsch, based on both its appearance and taste. The only kölsch-like properties that I detected were the grapey flavors and the lighter body. It is an unique hybrid style.

Serving type: bottle

 910 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, I get the "black" and I get the "Rye" and I understand that these robust flavors play out on a delicate malt backbone, but where's the "Kolsch"?

As the ale pours a dark brown hue, its clarity is deep and mysterious with no haze in sight. Very Porter-like, its head gathers on the beer light espresso creme. Its retention is light and fingerling as the beer trails with each sip.

High coffee aromas open up and reveal a nutty, roasty and burnt toast scent. With an underlying wafer-thin sweetness, light notions of caramel and brown sugar come to mind, but in the burnt carbon way that roasted marshmallows suggest.

Tasting the high roast flavor, any notion of "kolsch" is left in the recesses of the palate and the beer tramples forward to a cocoa-laden, burnt toast, walnut and coffee-like taste. Its middle dissolves such sweetness as the ale trends drier and drier until only the taste of burnt embers and roasted sugars remain. Finishing bitter with roast, a lingering campfire whimsy remains in echoes.

Medium-light in body, the Kolsh is lost and the roasty underpinnings define its texture at once. Powdery and somewhat ashy, its dryness ensures an exposed warmth of carbon and astringency that is buffered with just enough sweetness to support its dry roastiness.

I love this beer as an "imperial": Schwarz bier or as a dry Porter. Those identifiable flavors are alive and well, but I contend, where's the Kolsch component?

 1,439 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber, thoughtfully brought back from SoCal for me by doktorzee. Since this entry was added first, and actually used the correct name, I'll happily plant my flag here.

This beer pours a very dark, yet bright red cola highlight-tinged russet brown hue, with three flabby fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and slightly bubbly tan head, which leaves some spectral webbed lace around the glass as things duly sink away.

It smells of roasted bready caramel malt, mildly spicy rye grain, bittersweet powdered chocolate, a bit of dry black orchard fruit, soft earthy yeast, and herbal, leafy, and grassy hops. The taste is big on the gritty cocoa bitterness up front, with some smoked grainy pale and wet biscuity caramel malt, blended rye spice, muted dark fruit - maybe a bit of raisin, maybe a bit of prune - sugar-free root beer, a bland earthy nuttiness, and now turtling herbal, weedy hops.

The carbonation is fairly active in its plebeian frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and mostly smooth, the char stepping on a few toes here, just so y'all know. It finishes quite dry, the grain - including a more subdued than expected rye contingent - and a wee bit of blackened character coming to dominate over the various aforementioned side players.

It's dark, it's German-adjacent, and it tires more quickly than I might have initially thought - yup, that's Sprockets for me, from what I can recall. Calling this a Kolsch is sort of disingenuous at best, as all the light, crisp, and easy-drinking qualities of that style are shit all over by this venture - see American Black Ales for precedence.

 1,610 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Black rye Kolsch." Okay...reviewed as a Kolsch. Expectations are low given the description and brewery.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with appealing label design (Stone's marketing is fantastic, as always) and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at an H-E-B in Austin, TX, and served cold into a Cantillon gueuze glass (it's the closest glassware to a stange I have).

5.4% ABV per the label. Bottled 03/28/14. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2.5 fingers wide. Completely wrong for the style, but outside style conventions it's quite appealing: the creamy full rich tan colour head boasts a smooth, even consistency and a shiny soft complexion. Looks supple. Retention is excellent - ~10+ minutes. Light inconsistent lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Awful for the style. It's more of a schwarzbier appearance - a weak cola-black colour which is dull rather than shiny and sleek. Couldn't be less traditional.

Overall, I like the head but not the body. This is terrible for a kolsch, but when you consider they're pushing conventions it's not bad. Unique for a kolsch in all the wrong ways.

AROMA: Dry rye, rye bread, and a trace of rye's signature subtle spice. Bland schwarz malts. Pumpernickel. Faint herbal notes - maybe a hint of evergreen? Bland muted coffee. A muted hint of burnt malt. Maybe a kiss of caramel? I'm stretching here because the aroma is quite light and insipid, evoking little unless you really search.

Seems like an above average schwarzbier aroma. It's awful if you're judging it by kolsch standards - it doesn't seem refreshing or light at all. I detect no hop character - which is a surprising (but welcome) absence given the brewery responsible. Style conventions aside, the faint coffee is nice. Maybe there's a dab of cream in there too? Maybe even marshmallow? Or maybe the aroma is so tame, light, and bland that it's a blank slate upon which I can project my hopes.

No overt alcohol or off-notes are detectable. I'd call the aroma innocuous.

TASTE: Hm. I actually do find some kolsch character in there - the crisp helles malt backbone, the effortless drinkability, the minimal hop character - and much to my shock, the "dark" elements are well-integrated with notable subtlety. That said, it still comes off muted and tame. It's quite a reticent flavour profile for the style. I do like the extreme subtlety of the caramel, burnt schwarz malts, coffee, cream, and hazelnut. But must it be so unevocative and neutral? Traditional Kolschbiere could be called plain, but they're forward and open; this flavour profile feels closed-off and noncommital to its constituent notes.

Still, the balance is surprising; I'm having trouble believing Stone (at least Stone's main brewers) brewed this. Ah - then I check the label and realize that (like almost all Stone beers I actually like) - they didn't brew this, at least not alone. It was a homebrewer's recipe; no wonder. Maybe they should replace the regular brewmasters with the two cats responsible for this.

In any case, it's a nice unique take on a Kolsch, and while I do find it muted and a bit bland, I'm impressed by how well it brings dark ingredients into a traditionally light beer style without any obvious conflict. Could this homebrewer make a black IPA, please?

Depth of flavour couldn't be more shallow. Brief flavour duration. Light flavour intensity.

It's a cohesive well put together beer, but doesn't quite feel like a gestalt whole.

TEXTURE: Slightly creamy, which plays well against the slight dryness and coarseness brought about by the burnt character. It's refreshing in spite of an early second act drag on the palate. Aptly soft. Light to medium-bodied, with apt thickness. Has a fuller heavier presence on the palate than a Kolsch should, but I suppose it's forgivable.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh. I do find it a bit rough and scratchy, which does hold the drinkability back.

Overall presence on the palate is decent. This texture does a fine job at complementing the taste, but doesn't elevate the beer.

OVERALL: A unique schwarzbier-esque approach to a Kolsch. While it's not a success per se, it's far better executed than I would have guessed (especially given Stone's involvement). I'd like to see the homebrewer(s) behind this branch out and put out their own brews. Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from world-class. Worth trying if you're curious, but don't expect a good Kolsch. Just a nice hybridized experimental beer that drinks easy while delivering the dark flavours of bigger brews. I tip my hat to the brewer responsible; nice effort. I'll polish off the bomber with ease.

B-

 4,760 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with dry bitter notes with some citrus hoppy notes also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by dry bitter roasted malt notes with some light spicy rye notes with some hoppy citrus notes. Body is a bit light with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad but not great either and not sure I could have said this was a Kolsch had it not been mentioned on the label.

 513 characters

Photo of zeff80
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of largadeer
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass; worn off bottle date, but bottled in 4/2014. Pours crystal clear nearly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, toast, dark bread, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, spicy rye, light char, herbal, light fruitiness, light grass, and roast/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hop, and light-moderate kolsch yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, coffee, roasted malt, spicy rye, light char, light fruitiness, herbal, grass, and roast/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, coffee, roasted malt, spicy rye, light char, light fruitiness, grass, and roast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice robustness and complexity of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; with a great roasted malt bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice experimental Kolsch style beer. All around good balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, rye, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering; it tastes a lot like a robust porter.

 1,692 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing
3.82 out of 5 based on 681 ratings.
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