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: 681
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 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 Beer4Baltimore
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled on x/25/2014
aggressive pour into a nonic

A - black beer with a big creamy head that fades to a lacy finger height of lingering head
S - coffee, chocolate, rye
T - just like the smell, no surprises here
M - medium body and slightly creamy like a watery stout
O - it tastes good but what the hell is it? Not a Kolsch. I'd drink it again but cannot think of it as a Kolsch.

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Photo of avalon07
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a cylinder glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch and a half, foamy, fairly long-lasting, tan-colored head. Good lacing. Needless to say, this doesn't look like your typical kolsch.

S: A slightly different (and subdued) aroma of chocolate, malt, a little caramel, and light hops.

T: Like the aroma, the taste had a good deal of chocolate, a little bit of hops, rye, some caramel, and malt. The flavor wasn't like any kolsch I've tried before. This wasn't a bad thing, but it was a little thin and watery for my taste.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a somewhat thin finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is definitely an experiment of a beer. It has its good points, but doesn't come off altogether.

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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 allengarvin
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass, this is an opaque very dark brown with a thin tan head. The nose is very faint: just some lightly toasty black patent scent. Nice taste, but I don't get anything more than dark, lightly roasted malt, maybe with a little toffee. Blind tasting, I'd just call it a stout, and move on. It's not bad, but a "black rye kolsch"? Sounds gmimicky.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a nearly pitch black color with a one finger head of off white foam. The head has a moderate level of retention fading slowly to leave some streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a darker roasted malt smell mixed with some char and chocolate, bringing both a slightly burnt but somewhat sweet aroma to the nose. Along with these aromas are other malty smells of rye mixed with a little bit of a pine hop smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice roasted malt flavor mixed with a rather decent sum of a char and a light cocoa flavor. It begins rather dry with it gaining a little bit of sweetness as the flavor advances with some caramel and chocolate coming to the tongue. These sweeter flavors are later dampened as flavors of a light rye bread and some charcoal and smoke come to the tongue toward the end. In the end, with all the flavor transitions that had occurred on the tongue, one is left with a mostly dry and somewhat roasty and charred flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is rather light with a carbonation level that is rather high. Fairly good for the easy drinking feel of the brew, but a little weak for the smoky, darker, and rye flavors, so overall just OK.

Overall – A decently charred and toasty tasting brew with a lighter palate and easy drinking feel. A pretty nice kolsh.

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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 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 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 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 utfiero
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color- near black. Huge thick cream coffee head.

Aroma- toasted rye bread. A strange, smokey, meaty brew

Taste- mildly smokey, gentle black brew. Hops and pecans make a slight appearance in the mid-body, fishing charred but slightly hoppy. Would pair well with BBQ.

Overall, this is one of the more lackluster brews from Stone.

Poured from 650 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 5/23/14 and 6/22/14. Purchased at Costco in Austin.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 8.99 at Lager Mill, 22 oz bottle dated but unable to read; at 45 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of roasted malt, probably rye since its aroma is different from the normal roasted barley, some peaty smokiness
Head large (7 cm), light brown, creamy with rocks, quickly diminishing to irregular 1 – 2 mm layer
Lacing starts poorly with hardly any presence, but with the second pour lacing becomes good, forming nearly complete rings 2-3 mm thick and 1+ cm wide with mostly small bubbles
Body is dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor begins with roasted malt bitterness, slightly smoky, slowly edging into sweetness. The smokiness remains as the aftertaste. No alcohol, diacetyl, or hops.
Palate is medium to full, slightly creamy, carbonation is lively

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Photo of thecheapies
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, almost black. The head is tan in color and laces well.

Nose does remind me a little of that of a kolsch, but roastier. Picking up a bit of the rye. Just a hint of lemony brightness. Not so Germanic in the malt bill, really Americanized. Some yeastiness that is more nutty than musty.

Huh... tastes like what it is. It's a black rye kolsch. The hops are German, it seems. Lightly bitter and somewhat herbal. The rye adds gruff to what might have been a bland beer. Instead, it's not. Mild lemon tails the middle and there is a clean wheaty flavor beneath it all.

Really easy feel. Perfect for slinging back. Good balance between light-medium body and medium carbonation.

I like this beer more than I would consider it authentic. I'm not trying to kill it, overall, but my score is compromised based on execution to style.

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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 HalfFull
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A black rye kolsch. Now that is a good one. Me chief black white clear cloudy day night!

Style aside, what is this beer? Pours deep brown/black with some ruby highlights and sports a thin and yet resilient cap of mocha foam. Aroma of light roasted malts and a touch of rye, but then not really. More rye evident in the flavor however. Offers a delicate hop presence amid a simple yeast character. At times this beer offers character similar to a Belgian Dubbel in context and at times it offers virtually nothing at all.

Light bodied and easy drinking. Still too much of a stray cat to confer much love.

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Photo of DrJay
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black with clear ruby edges and highlights and a short, thick cap of tan/brown foam. Good head retention, lots of sticky lacing. Dark malt aroma, a little burnt and roasted, char with bitter chocolate, faint hop character. Soft on the palate, light bodied with modest carbonation, smooth and a bit dry from the dark grains. Malty with moderate bitterness up front, chocolate and a hint of toffee/hops mid-palate, finishing on the bitter side. Lingering citrus/lemon bitterness. Overall, pretty good. Fairly refreshing, but with some real character from the dark malt.

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Photo of CHickman
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a big creamy 2 finger tan head with tons of bubbles popping on top that faded slowly, leaving excellent sticky foamy lacing clinging to the sides, rings as it went down and a layer on top.

Smells of charcoal, herbs, cocoa powder, burnt coffee, rye, chocolate, roasted malt, light floral hops and roasted notes that almost seem nutty with some sweetness mixed in. Very burnt rye bread toast with herbal hops and some chocolate or coffee grinds sums up the nose, with nice charred notes that make this seem like a very sweet smoked porter and nowhere near what other Kölsch beers smell like. Hops are just accents in this brew.

Tastes of roasted chocolate malt, burnt coffee grinds, charcoal, herbs, cocoa powder, rye, tea leaf, floral hops, pine cone, roasted nuts and some sweetness mixed in with the smoke essence. The roasted malts are dominant and really smoky and very much like a smoke beer or smoked porter, with the cocoa powder sweetness that has a hint of vanilla, dark chocolate and spices like rye or spruce. The finish is incredibly dry and leaves a smoky aftertaste after the complex malty flavors fade leaving only the rye taste and mouth dry.

Mouthfeel is light and watery, with almost no carbonation, a light to medium body and general smoky taste that fades with a little bitterness and sweetness the dries up almost clean. Not a Kölsch, but a damn tasty beer that was fairly easy to drink if you are a fan of roasted malts and cocoa. The bottle said to drink this fresh, so I did, and now is ze time on Sprockets vhen ve daance…

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A black rye kolsch. $9.99/22 oz at Arrow Wine. #087161807. Poured into a chalice.

Breaks all the style rules. A refreshing beer with the kolsch lightness and the flavorfulness of the black beer and rye grains. If I reviewed this beer strictly to style it would have a below average rating, but its so good, I can’t do that to this beer. 4

A – Pours black with garnet highlights and a three-finger tan head. Average lacing. 4.5

S – Biscut, spicey rye, slight burnt roastiness, maybe even a bit smokey. 4

T – Roasty, coffee, maybe a tiny bit of spice from the rye. Can taste the influence of the kolsch yeast. 4

MF – Medium-light body, dry finish, creaminess in the finish. 4.25

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Photo of delta490
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown, almost devoid of light. It has a thick creamy tan head that has great retention and lacing. The aroma is distinct dark roasted malt. The taste is mostly schwarzbier with a peppery note from the rye and an earthy hops profile. The mouthfeel is is silky, with a nice weight to the body, but not too heavy. This is a tasty and unique beer.

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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 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 mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, with the bottled on / enjoy by date chipped away and unreadable, but the local beer store just got bottles of this. Not sure why there are two listings for this beer, but this one seems more accurate. A black rye kölsch style beer, not entirely sure of what to expect with this one.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark sludgy chocolate; opaque black in the glass with about a finger and a half of creamy chocolate mocha head. Leaves behind some scattered spotty lacing. Looks pretty damn nice.

S - The smell is unique and very interesting also - mildly citrusy / lemony, but more grainy, rye, burnt / charred sort of roastiness going on also. Mild coffee notes. Lightly metallic on the finish. Very nicely balanced aromas.

T - Taste follows the nose - very nicely balanced grassy / herbal / citrus elements with the mild roast / char. Mild chocolate / coffee notes again. Not really getting much in the way of rye on the taste, mostly just char / malt roastiness.Only a very mild bitterness on this one, but this is still definitely not your standard kölsch style beer.

M - The feel is extremely smooth, frothy, and creamy. Medium bodied, with crisp carbonation. Lightly dry, chalky, and bitter on the finish.

Overall, an interesting beer from Stone, a lot different than their typical ridiculously hopped up fare. Still, I probably wouldn't label this beer as a kölsch. I'm not entirely sure what I would describe it as. I guess a rye beer if I was able to detect any. Either way, recommended and worth the try.

Stone Spotlight Series: Rick & Robbie's Spröcket Bier ---4/5.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger and half of light tan head on a black body.
The aroma has an initial roast malt smell, then just cut hay towards a barnyard, and finally a bit of citrus. Unexpected but nice.
The taste has a roasted malt sweetness tempered by lemon bitterness, some grainy flavor and finishes with a mellow citrus note.
The texture is fizzy and light with moderate carbonation.
It's nicely done.

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

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass (dated March 2014 though the exact day in March is not readable)
A: Pours a pitch black color with a one-finger tan head
S: A lot of malt, quite toasted, even a bit of grill char. Noticeable earth and cocoa as well
T: Matches the nose: earthy with very roasted malt along with cocoa/chocolate and a bit of coffee
M: Medium-bodied, a bit bitter
O: Not my favorite from Stone but certainly well made and worth a try

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