Stochasticity Project: Master Of Disguise
Stone Brewing

Stochasticity Project:  Master Of DisguiseStochasticity Project:  Master Of Disguise
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Stone Brewing
California, United States
Stout - American Imperial
3.78 | pDev: 12.96%
Apr 29, 2020
Jun 26, 2014
Very Good
Stochasticity Project:  Master Of DisguiseStochasticity Project:  Master Of Disguise
Notes: First Release: November 2014
Some illusions and misnomers lead to life’s most delightful surprises. Case in point—this beer, the yang to the yin that is the black India pale ale. Once revolutionary for its onyx appearance, it is now an accepted and beloved member of the India pale ale family. Thus we took the spirit of a dark beer—the time-honored stout—and applied a similar science of thought, brewing it to be golden-hued. Cocoa and coffee beans impart roastiness sans darkening to this brew, while flaked oats provide an enveloping mouthfeel. The result is a stout that looks more like a blonde, but is a raven beauty at heart.
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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by rodbeermunch from Nevada

Right out the gate, this is a pretty cool beer with its turning the norm upside down appearance wise.

Instead of pouring black/brown, this imperial stout comes in a golden-amber like color with 1/2" white head. The aroma artfully drops a hefty vanilla and chocolate presence, whereas the coffee is slighter than that.

The taste is sweet, and there is no roasted malt, its a different twist on the pastry stout, with there being little to no roasted malt aspect that gets covered up or counterbalancing effect. The coffee, vanilla and chocolate/cocao notes remain sturdy throughout. Carbonation was fine. The weight effect on the beer was light. All in all its pretty impressive, its unique, it tastes good, it really is the kind of beer with stout like flavor/adjuncts that you could drink in warmer weather without it being too taxing on your body/palate. Has a nice creaminess to it. Would buy again if made in a 4 or 6 pack.

Apr 29, 2020
4.5 by RiceOwls27 from Texas on Apr 06, 2020
4.02 by Sound_Explorer from Washington on Jan 12, 2020
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by jazzyjeff13 from England

A 22oz bottle with no visible BB date. Purchased ages ago from the Brewdog webshop and stored in a box. Hopefully still in good condition - let's see what this golden stout is all about....

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Possibly bottle conditioned. A deep marmalade-orange hue with light carbonation and flocculent, gelatinous sediment that floats lazily in the glass. Yields a very small head of creamy white foam that settles almost immediately to a patchy surface layer.

S: Aroma of rich roasted coffee with hints of bitter cocoa, caramel malt, mild barley sugar, ale yeast, earthiness and faint leafiness. Stouty without the stout - very nice.

T: Tastes of intense roasted coffee with notes of bitter cocoa, espresso, caramel malt, subtle barley sugar, ale yeast, earthiness, mild floral hints and a vague leafiness. The booze is well hidden. Slightly sweet, followed by a powerful coffee-driven bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation and superb body. Rich and creamy. Somewhat astringent; dries the palate. Aftertaste of fruity roasted coffee, bitterness, cocoa, mild caramel malt, subtle grain, earthy yeast and faint leafiness.

O: Another stand-out effort from Stone; age leaves this undimmed. Looks great, while the aroma and flavour are a superb blend of coffee, cocoa, caramel malt and ale yeast. Great body. Interesting to note how the coffee makes an excellent substitute for the dark malt in a typical imperial stout. Rich, complex and very tasty - well worth sampling should you be lucky enough to come across a bottle.

Aug 05, 2018
3.75 by brittanylicious from Indiana on Feb 11, 2018
3.75 by heysuz from Indiana on Feb 11, 2018
4 by 1971bernat from Virginia on Jan 03, 2018
Photo of GarrettB
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by GarrettB from Colorado

March 6th, 2015 - Before it was the stochasticity project, this was simply Stone's Master of Disguise. Furiously red and almost orange, it looks like an angry beer, and the aroma seems to confirm my suspicions. Spicy and with some chili and vegetal elements, it has enough malt to support the exotic scents. A little marshmallow sweetness binds all the aromas together, letting the paradox of a blonde stout precipitate into reality. The flavor is more emphatically a stout, with a sticky and foamy palate, and abundant malt in the body. A graham cracker sweetness feels very appropriate here too, with a slight hop touch that lasts well into the aftertaste. It's a curious style, and no doubt the product of a drunken dare (or an adventurous conversation at a brew club) but the result speaks for itself: spectacular in its self-contradiction.

Dec 06, 2017
3.5 by bigred89 from Maryland on Oct 15, 2017
Photo of macrosmatic
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by macrosmatic from Florida

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery tulip glass.

A: A clear burnished gold – just a touch of chill haze – with a two-finger white head and a fairly low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Big coffee, unroasted coffee beans and some green peppers. Hints of cacao and a minimal light malt body.

T: Coffee - again some green coffee but there's some darker roast character here as well, and some bitter baker's chocolate. A light bready malt, and no roasted character to the malt bill. A slight hop bitterness near the end, with the lingering coffee. As the beer warms, it does develop more dark roast flavors to the coffee, as well as some more cacao flavor.

M: A light body for the "style" (but who knows what that’s supposed to be). Low carbonation sensation overall, and the alcohol is noticeable but not overly hot.

O: This was weird, and certainly worth a try. Compared to true Imperial Stout, it falls short especially in mouthfeel and the lack of roast malt character. But it's certainly not a bad beer. It’s very coffee-forward, though does develop some of that green pepper flavor. Then again, some vintages of FBS do so as well. But it’s enjoyable enough.

Sep 04, 2017
4.04 by SkyyNapalm from Massachusetts on Jul 23, 2017
Photo of TerribleTaste
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by TerribleTaste from California

This was my first ever craft beer that I had ever tried.... And It spoiled the fuck out of me.....
After a heavy phase of drinking hard liquor through high-school and college I stopped drinking for almost a decade.
Then in 2014 A friend of mine offered me half of his 22oz Master of Disguise bottle and I agreed without much thought, I was never really a beer person but I didn't want to be rude and refuse him.

Those 11 oz beer changed my life.... I had never experienced so many unique flavors in one single mouth full. I was so impressed at how the chocolate, vanilla and coffee swirled around with each other. At the time I was not 100% able to understand just exactly what I was drinking, But I knew that I absolutely loved it simply from the pallet of flavors I was getting!

Since drinking that beer I have gone on quite the rampage looking for a beer to match the complexities of this offering.....Still have yet to have a beer that floored me like this one did.....

If anyone has a bottle of this stored away, I will buy it from you for a decent price....I can't find anyone who has it and I have been asking A LOT.

Jun 19, 2017
Photo of EmperorBevis
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by EmperorBevis from England

Bottled and a gift from my side of the road, and I will be forced to take a look at the moment, but I am still proud to be a small recipient of such a fine ale

Mar 27, 2017
Photo of tylerstravis
3.24/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by tylerstravis from Colorado

This could have been cool if they used good coffee.

Sep 11, 2016
4.25 by Cuervo_PCB from Florida on Aug 27, 2016
4.57 by dag1991 from Ohio on Jul 16, 2016
3.75 by calcnerd from Pennsylvania on Jun 03, 2016
Photo of stevoj
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by stevoj from Idaho

Aroma initially is coffee, and body resembles a stout (except for color). Taste brings in some more flavors, overall very complex. ABV is in there, sneaks up on you.

May 18, 2016
3.72 by Newport_beerguy from Rhode Island on May 16, 2016
Photo of Delmarvabeer
1.67/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5
by Delmarvabeer from Maryland

Bottle date: 11/13/2014, bought from a store on 4/14/16

Chilled and poured into a regular pint glass.

L: Nice golden/amber hue almost the color of an iced tea where the ice has melted just slightly.

S: A yeasty almost moldy smell with some earthy scents. Almost smells like freshly dug dirt.

T: Very medicinal, some hints of bourbon but it really reminded me of Listerine. Also a very overpowering liquid smoke type flavor. Making this very unpalatable. I could not finish more than a quarter glass of this.

F: Carbonation is fine, not too fizzy or flat. Slight slickness.

O: I generally don't like to toss beer, but this is probably one of the worst I have drank in a long time and I generally enjoy Stone (love their imperial porter). Maybe this was just a bad batch, got skunky at the store or in transit. Either way this was a Master of Disguise for sure.

Apr 15, 2016
Photo of sprat1960
3.02/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by sprat1960 from Massachusetts

Look: Amber color with hints of gold; cloudy, opaque. Pours with a less than 1 finger off-white head that dies down leaving a very thin, uneven layer of foam on the surface of the beer. Lots of small bubbles from the carbonation.

Smell: Lots of coffee; chocolate; malt. Slightly boozy and medicinal.

Taste: Coffee; cocoa; whiskey with a medicinal bitter finish.

Feel: Medium body; fizzy sensation from the carbonation; slight pucker at the end.

Overall: Unique but not to my taste. The bitter finish was too much for me and ruined it for me.

Feb 29, 2016
Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

How do you enjoy an imperial stout when it looks like an IPA????? You drink that's how! I'll admit, it was odd, I mean aren't stout supposed to be thick and black as night? The stout taste was there, but mouthfeel was more subduded...a little more carbonated than a true stout, but enjoyable nonetheless. As another reviewer noted, "too bad it was only brewed once", as this is something I could get used to!

Jan 24, 2016
3.78 by DrAnnaNemis from Illinois on Jan 12, 2016
3.64 by hop_junkie from New Hampshire on Jan 02, 2016
3.78 by Bung from Michigan on Dec 23, 2015
2.76 by searsclone from Arizona on Dec 18, 2015
Photo of Sabtos
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Sabtos from Ohio

Wow, I was not expecting this at all, the appearance of a Pale Ale, and the aroma and flavor of a Stout! What a fun novelty. Not sure it will stick around but nice work bending the rulebook.

Dec 17, 2015
3.82 by JVan from Illinois on Dec 09, 2015
3.64 by PretzelCity from California on Dec 06, 2015
3.5 by TomG2751 from Maryland on Nov 29, 2015
4.5 by pathman from Ohio on Nov 26, 2015
3.65 by JLapadura from New York on Nov 23, 2015
4.02 by SweetwaterTuonker from Minnesota on Nov 18, 2015
3.69 by gobuccos from Ohio on Nov 04, 2015
Photo of bomberqueen
4.7/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bomberqueen from California

Bottle aged for one year.

Pours golden and light, with a tan/white thin head.
Smells of light bodied coffee, hints of cocoa.
The golden color tried to play a trick on my senses, but it was very true to an aged stout.
Sweet almost caramel-like aftertaste.
Creamy, velvet mouthfeel.
VERY drinkable for 9.7% ABV
So unique, left me wanting another! A shame it was only brewed once.

22 oz from Tap and Bottle in Tucson, AZ.
Poured into a Nonic glass.

Oct 26, 2015
Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Jadjunk from Georgia

"Things aren't always what they seem, but not all deception is devious. Some illusions and misnomers lead to life's most delightful surprises. Case in point - this beer, the yang to the yin that is the black India pale ale. Once revolutionart for its onyx appearance, it is now an accepted and beloved spirit of a dark beer - the time-honored stout- and applied a similar science of thought, brewing it to be golden-hued. That is what this experimental series and its latest creation are all about. Cocoa and coffee beans impart roastiness sans darkening to this brew, while flaked oats provide an enveloping mouthfeel. The result is a stout that looks more like a blonde, but is a raven beauty at heart." Brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout, available as a limited release in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy cream head of a golden-pastel white hue over a medium hazy amber body with light, relaxed carbonation. Abnormally bright hued to be classified as an American Imperial Stout or even a standard American Stout. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Moderate roast, cocoa nibs, raw moderately acidic coffee beans coalesce in an aromatic coffee and chocolate heavy aroma. Smooth with a moderate sweetness, fairly clean and lightly fruity notes. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Cacao nibs and roasted coffee bean oils atop a suspiciously light body of pale and biscuit malts, not much body to compliment the adjuncts and an underwhelming sweetness and viscosity. Finishes moderately roasty and clean with a lingering drag of burnt coffee. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, moderately oily, lightly sticky, medium dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a moderate frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style and medium/heavy overall. Balance is moderately earthy bitter and roasty over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A novelty idea comes from the idea of maintaining a stout's robustness and flavor while reducing the visual appearance to that of an American IPA, but the results are questionable if not somewhat disappointing. It seems that the inclusion of chocolate and roast coffee bean generates the aromatic illusion of a stout to the nose, but upon tasting, there wasn't an equally complex malt base to match these adjuncts, and the coffee and chocolate sat exposed atop something closer to a cream ale or a lightly hopped amber ale. By reaching the flavor of this beer, I expect just about any blindfolded craft beer enthusiast to deduce something to be amiss. Certainly not bad, but I'd be hard pressed to classify this as an American Stout outside of the name and the brewery's own expectations. Very flavorful and enjoyable aside from the void which may be left desired, seemingly an absence for the ingredients that seem to make a stout a stout. 3.5

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Master of Disguise: Imperial Golden Stout

Oct 17, 2015
4.5 by gregcordle from Ohio on Oct 13, 2015
3.54 by CJNAPS from California on Oct 09, 2015
4.39 by schmitter from Pennsylvania on Oct 04, 2015
3.73 by RochefortChris from North Carolina on Oct 04, 2015
Stochasticity Project: Master Of Disguise from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 938 ratings