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: 124 | Ratings: 679
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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours darker than I expected, very dark black, a little brown light coming through on the pour part and thin parts of the glass, but no light otherwise, little darker colored fizzy creamy head hits about 1/2 a finger that fades at a fair pace, decent but milder lacing.

Nose big dark malt aroma, black malt up the wazoo, with a big roasty component with lots and lots of coffee surprising fresh roasted coffee beans, but nothing overpowering and heavy malt, just dark toasted roasted malts, a little grainy toasty malt, a fresh cracked malt and faint super dark chocolate powdered cocoa, a mild spicy rye note but not a lot, hint of a dark fruity note, a nice mild schwarzbier like lager note, soft lager crispness without the actual lager, and faint hint of a smoky note. Really interesting blend of everything without anything going overboard.

Taste brings a little smokey note to start, more than I expected actually, but not very strong, then into roast and dark malts, a little black malt and some fresh roasted coffee beans again. It also brings a little very dark choc and cocoa dust, but not much of either, mostly the black malt and roast. with a hint of an acrid note. Then bitterness, a spicy grassy slight earthy hop bitterness cuts through it all, blending nicely with the mild, very mild spicy rye, I wish the rye was a bit more actually. A mild creamy note in there too, with a touch of a grainy toasty malt, and a little straw note, some mild lager like schwarzbier. Finish is drier, a little sticky and creamy feeling, not very crisp or light, fair bitterness lingering with mild spicy earthy hops, and a touch more spicy rye, a little more roasty coffee beans and hint of smoke too, all lingering nicely.

Mouth is med to heavier bod, nice carb, mildly creamy.

Overall not bad, not very Kolsch like as it's a bit too heavy, but it does bring a little schwarzbier like notes which is lager like and an attempt at a dark kolsch, nice malts with roast, hint of choc and smoke, nice overall though, pretty tasty and quite drinkable.

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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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large foamy beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted rye malts, chocolate and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty roasted malt character breadiness. Then some flavors of chocolate and rye spice. Then a mild but complementary hops presence comes in and provides a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth but a bit watery, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good variation of style, it’s decent beer to drink for a while if you’re looking for something a bit different.

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Photo of mactrail
3.27/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Dark amber-brown with an exemplary head in the narrow Kölsch glass. Plenty of suds in the mouthfeel. Starts out sweet, grainy and tangy. The bitter hoppiness is not far behind. The rye taste is quite distinctive. The resiny richness goes well with the charred malt. Some burnt sugar with the rich malt, but the aftertaste is on the dry side.

The bitterness becomes tiresome Brewer's notes say this is made with Magnum and Hersbrucker hops. Some aromatics with a piney, fruity smell. This is quite interesting but gets harder to drink after a while. When it warms up I find it undrinkable.

This is nothing like a Kölsch, and I don't get why a rather specific historic style should be used as a catch-all category, like American Black Ale, where this would fit with the whacky recipe. But this is so strongly rye flavored, why do we have a Rye Beer category if it's not used for stuff like this? From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Trader Joes.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - Lucky's Beverage World in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a few glimmers of amber when held against the light. Though not particularly tall, the creamyish, mocha-toned head is lasting.

Smell: Coffee-toned roasted malt, a gently meaty smokiness invades the nostrils, and toasted homemade German dark rye bread for an overall earthy nose. Some chocolate, some grape, too.

Taste: Roasted grain, flecks of darkened nuts and burnt rye bread. A little smoke, a little spice. Faint chocolate. Ample sweetness. A fruitiness that sneaks in hinting of grape. The smoke-induced roast and spice carry you through the end of the near-crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. A bit above medium carbonation. Smooth, creamyish mouthfeel.

Overall: Fairly satisfying. Yes, I understand this a tinkered-with, augmented Kolsch, but, I hoped that didn't mean totally tossing out the refreshing spirit of the beer out the window. Thankfully, while there is a little added heft, it remains nicely drinkable -- really, I'm just happy it didn't wander into unrefreshing territory.

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Photo of russpowell
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours mahogany with a pinky of tan head. Good head retention & slightly above average lacing

S: Roastyness, slight peppery notes

T: Roasty, peppery, with herbal notes, some pineyness & slight smokeyness up front. Roastyness , spicy rye, & a little brown bread & more pineyness. Finishes piney, peppery, & spicy, plus roastyness

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation

Works better as a black IPAor hell even a porter than a Kolsch, drinkable enough. Stone is starting to get a little out there, but I like they are still trying to push some boundries. Glad I got to try this, but not really buying the concept of a Black Rye Kolsch...

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Photo of smcolw
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Described to me by the bartender as a Black Kölsch. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible, but here it is, near black where only the faintest of light passes. Good, lasting head with excellent blanketing lace.

Smells like watered down coffee. Certainly the black patent and chocolate malts predominate the nose.

Similar in body and taste to a watery stout. This is a thin dark beer with ample carbonation. The flavor is of burnt toast and little else. A bit two dimensional for my tastes. Although Kölsch is typically low hopped, this beer is begging to have some peppery spice to the tongue.

Interesting, but for me, a miss.

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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 RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite an interesting beer. These are what experimental beers should be; at least in my book. That being said, how do you critique a dark kolsch? Ya know?

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Kind of a malty, almost coffee nose. But, I don't think there is any coffee in this one. Kind of spicy, which I like. Even though it's a somewhat robust flavor profile, it's still easy drinking. I like this. It's a good beer, even though I don't consider it a kolsch; though there are some kolsch aspects to it that I can pick up. Anyways. I like it.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Bert's
Pours a solid dark brown bordering on black with faint garnet at the edges and a decent sized tightly bubbled light tan head that persists forever. Aromas of chocolate, earthy hops, light spice and fruit. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Extremely flavorful easy to drink ale. Reminds me of a cross between a schwarzbier and a black IPA. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a stange glass. sure why not? Uh ok a black rye kolsch... sure.

Thick classic black IPA head, thick light coffee with swiss cheese like retention and easily four fingers tall. Body even in a thin stange is truly dark hints towards a very deep brown with some red edges. Looks aggressive but sure ain't looking like no Kolsch that's for sure.

Surprisingly with all the variety of ingredients on this, there's virtually no aroma off first pour. Mild roast and hint of sweet char. A strange tobacco and fruit sweetness slightly on the end which is quite unique but it's very buried, making it harder to even describe. Much of it getting larger as the beer settles and warms.

Palate provides a mish mash of oddities. Spiced malt quality finish with a big dryness and some wet roasted grain character. Watery backbone, even for a Kolsch. Muted leaf and mild aromatic hop bent with a bit of lingering mint. Not much discernable malt quality going on obviously.

This comes off like a very watered down porter, and it has no Kolsch character that I can discern, so it just comes off as just a light drinkable roasty beer, with an odd hop quality that doesn't match to style. It's clash of flavors and feel just doesn't draw me in, nothing seems to compliment, and while not offensive and easy drinkable this is not a beer I would drink again.

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Photo of rab53
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is not a Kolsch by any stretch of the imagination. Just like a weizenbock is an amber wheat stout.

Whatever the name, the result was surprisingly tasty and definitely drinkable. I would have called this a Session Black IPA (American Black Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale, etc). Though, that would be 'uncool' given the proliferation of Session IPAs in the market.

Light-medium bodied with a slightly roasted background and hoppy finish. Not heavy, cloying or bitter. Best description is Sublimely Self-Righteous Lite.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, blackish coloring with ruby highlights and a filmy, clingy, low profile, tan head. Aromas of dark roast coffee, subtle chocolate notes, char, toasted grains, and some earthy tones. Flavors are roasted forward, with hints of smoke and char throughout. Solid coffee notes throughout, too, with some chocolate highlights and smooth, toasted backbone. This tips the scales towards the bitter side, with a roasted and smoky aftertaste. Smooth and light in mouth, with a bitter and smoked linger. Interesting brew.

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Photo of stevoj
3.78/5  rDev -1%
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 Tone
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color. 1/2 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, dark citrus, slight spice, dry hop, hint of pepper, and hint of rye. This is a well balanced and well blended beer, but I don't believe it fits the category of a Kolsch. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, spice, hint of rye, dry hops, and a hint of floral hops. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend. No complaints about this beer, except for it being a poor representation of a Kolsch. The low score is due to rating the beer under Kolsch style characteristics.

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Photo of Gavage
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a 2" head that falls quickly. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: light earthy and pine aroma comes through to the nose.

Taste: light roasted tones with grass, earthiness, grapefruit, pine, and a bit of pumpernickel bread. Bitterness is moderate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp at the finish. Long aftertaste.

Overall: a good beer that is light but has some meatier flavors. Interesting.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sester stange. Pours a very dark brown with hints of red at the margins and a three finger light brown head with great retention and heavy lacing. Aroma of bready and toasted malt, spicy rye, hints of chocolate. Really nice rye component to the aroma. Flavor is chocolatey toaste malt with light char, rye fruitiness and spiciness, finishes with nice lightly charred toasted malt, spicy rye and light grassy hops. Light to medium bodied with peppery carbonation. Flavors are quite nice, but somewhat subdued as expected from a kolsch style session beer, but with a surprisingly robust finish. Except that the flavors are toned down, this doesn't fit much with the light kolsch style, perhaps only because no one had thought to put a rich toasted malt and rye in one before. It delivers on it's name, a black rye ale that has been toned down to kolsch sessionability, without losing it's character. Interesting and well done. The first 80 degree day here this year and this is a wonderful accompaniment.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%

Sorry, but there is no such thing as a black rye kolsch; it's a rye beer, get over it. But being a project of two homebrewers and with the help of Stone, this unusual concoction may taste good. From a 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Polished obisidian colored and topped with an inch of slightly tanned head. This is definately not a kolsch, but it is pretty to look at. Its aroma is modest and mood elevating; bits of chocoolate malt notes highlight the tip of a mild grassy base and modest hoppiness.

Does it taste like a kolsch? No, no, no, no. I would have said dry stout if I had tasted this blind, but it would still be closer to a black rye ale than a kolsch. It does in fact have a pleasant flavor, so let's not discount that. Bits of dark chocolate works with a gentle spiciness and dryness from the rye. Gentle waves of grass hit the palate and refresh without being boring. As a pleasant surprise, the beer has a creamy light/medium feel that is easy to drink (especially during this late summer 90F heat!).

It's a good homebrew recipe that Stone has done justice to. But I would like to see more justice with the kolsch style, because being dark and not from Cologne are two strikes.

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Spotlight Series: Spröcketbier from Stone Brewing
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