Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale | Stone Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,909 Reviews
Sublimely Self-Righteous AleSublimely Self-Righteous Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 09-02-2007

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,909 | Ratings: 5,893
Photo of BarleyWineRox
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black emptiness with a light toffee head into my tulip. Sticky lacing clings to the sides of the glass.
Grassy hoppy citrus aromas are given off.As it warms caramely malt shows. Candied citrus and hop bitterness in the mouth.This is a very tasty beer!

 259 characters

Photo of crazeguy
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz Bomber into a Pilsner Glass.

Dark jet black color, tiny amount of light penetrates this beast. Brown head.

Smell, tiny hint of pine and citrus. Malt smell is noticable.

Taste is pretty uniform. Like a lighter arrogant bastard that is better balanced with sweet and bitter. Could have more flavor though, but it also helps with the drinkability.

Mouthfeel is laced by a hop aftertaste that is pleasant.

Drinkability is outstanding. Could go bottle for bottle of this.

 492 characters

Photo of tonymoore
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap the first time I had it, and I thought that if God drinks beer this is probably the beer he drinks. Satan, too, if he has any taste (and I'll bet he does). It's black like Satan's soul, and the taste is unexpected because of it: It looks like a stout, but it's a huge hop wash across your tongue.

The head is like froth on a milkshake, and it's exceptionally white, especially in contrast to the beer itself.

I thought that the color was just a gimmick, but then I realized that what it adds is a psychological aspect that no other beer has (yet): It's like buying a black car. It's not any faster than a white car, but it feels like it might be, and it's a hell of a lot cooler; you just tend to enjoy it more. The color of this one adds some kind of layer that you only discern on a subconscious level.

I bought two cases and enjoy every bottle as much as the previous. if you can find it, it's worth the price.

 935 characters

Photo of zbellino
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my all-time favorites, and really the perfect execution of this style.

A - Black with good brown depth that carries through the rich head. It laces like a sexy black boot sticking to the sides.

S - It gets on you really quick with a pine aroma and the smell of roasted malt goodness. I love that the hops leave a small citrus aroma in the nose.

T - The showstopper. Prettymuch delivers the same toasted goodness, arromatic juniper flavor, and citrus, but with very subtle cream hints.

M - It holds up well. It is a great balance between half and half and whole. It walks a tightrope well.

O - Can't say enough. Get this one if you (still) haven't had it.

 668 characters

Photo of MikeM40
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. This brew pours a near black and creates a huge foamy light tan head that last forever and leaves tons of lacing. Aromas of bitter hops,pine and citrus fruits,particularly grapefruit greet the nose. First sip reveals a surprising roasted malt character that is nicely balanced by bitter hops. Also hints of bitter coffee,chocolate and more citrus. This beer has a very usual flavor profile but the flavors work together amazingly well. Mouthfeel and carbonation are medium and there is a definite creamy quality to this beer. The finish is long and quite bitter and any hint of alcohol taste has been completely masked. This is a very interesting brew which manages to blend flavors you would not think would go together,and does so very well. An interesting ale I would gladly enjoy again. 

 838 characters

Photo of MichaelLynBryant
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a tan head. Aroma is roasted malt hidden behind hop bitterness. Roasty taste, with hop oils residual. Full, creamy mouthfeel similar to a dry stout. Bitter front end plows over the creaminess with each sip. Hint of alcohol warmth is good indicator for non-info'd drinkers.

On draft, this is one of my favorite beers. From a bottle, it continues to live up to its worth.

 392 characters

Photo of lillieja
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a slight amber hue. Meduim head.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate followed by the piney hops.

Tastes like it smells, roasted malt and hops.

Full body with medium carbonation.

I love this beer. Certainly my favorite black IPA I have had to this point. I will drink this again often.

 306 characters

Photo of Liz_Yoder
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I am not an IPA drinker so this one was a little rough for me. However, I can't deny it is full of body and flavor and will make any IPA lover beg for more. The smell of coffee (and maybe chocolate) is pleasant and again makes this a standout among IPAs. If you love your porters and/or IPAs then this is for you. For those of you who shy away...take several steps back.

 370 characters

Photo of jzm2500
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Brown-black and opaque. Has a thick, frothy, tan head that smears down the glass like a Guinness.

S/T/M- Smells like citrus-y hops. Taste is IPA-ish (grapefruit, pine, bitter) combined with flavors of molasses and smoke. There is a pleasant sweetness from the malt. Finishes w/ a lingering bitterness. Feels relatively thick in the mouth, frothy, very nice. Flavor is immensely satisfying.

D- Nice. Take it easy though!

This is an exceptional beer. A black IPA-ish mutant.. Don't know how to categorize it, but it is big, bold, and wonderful.

Update: On subsequent tastings, I have been blown away every time. The head has had less of the creaminess than what I noted the first time, but it's still thick and ever-present.. This beer is a powerhouse of flavor. Top 5.

 775 characters

Photo of decafron
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - deep dark sludge with a beautiful huge head. lacing seems to be everlasting. can't wait to dive into this.

s - bright citrus hops lead with a wallop of chocolate malt on the finish. smells as good as it looks...

t - this where this ale really explodes! a perfectly balanced marriage of cocoa and piney hops. it's subtle and huge at the same time...easily the best thing i've tasted from stone.

m - the perfect amount of bitterness, carbonation, and hoppy resin. not a hint of that high alcohol which could be a blessing or a curse.

d - holy crap...where have you been all my life? black ipa's are easily my favorite style of the last couple years and SSR is exceptional. i'm not the biggest fan of stone so i usually walk by them when i'm making a purchase. this beer has given me a new found respect for them. BUY THIS NOW!

 833 characters

Photo of hrmhrm
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you like big brown sudsy heads, get this one. Thick, foamy and tall.

Pour deep dark brown.

Taste is a like too coffee-chocolate for my taste, but not sweet. Other ale styles I like better, but no question this is a great beer. If you love this style, you'll be in heaven.

 276 characters

Photo of Taylor88
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is so F'in Stone...I am however a "Stoner" I've shared this beer with many of my friends. It freaks most of them out! "What the hell is this?" is the most common response. It is a difficult beer to describe. It's hoppy, it's malty, it's, it's, it's...everything! I think Stone threw everything in this beer but the proverbial "kitchen sink"...Not for everybody, but this "Stoner" loves it!!

 400 characters

Photo of Yokoono76
1.66/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: beautiful rich dark brown in color. Nice head, 2-3 fingers worth.

S: hoppy, piney-tar

T: wow,it's really hoppy! Did not expect it to be so bitter. Notes of pine, tiny little aftertaste of chocolate, but overhwlemed by the bitter metallic flavor. So bitter and metallic. It doesn't mellow either. Yikes!

M: good carbonation, nice thickness

O: I was so excited when I first poured it, rich head, great color... I got excited. Then, I smelled it, hoppy, pine, tar. The taste was so bitter, it has some depth which might become more noticeable if it weren't so bitter. Overall, I am underwhelmed. Perhaps if you like bitter, hoppy, metallic beers you might like it. I am not impressed.

Note: I would be willing to try it at a warmer temp., perhaps it might mellow out or add some depth. I just don't get the bitter beer movement.

 833 characters

Photo of doboy
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A Black IPA? and a fine one at that! It pours as Black as the Ace of Spades, with a nice head, that reduces to fine lacing that holds for the entire beer. The aroma is sweet hops that strike the nose. The first sip gives wonderful mouthfeel as the hops explode in your mouth. The aftertaste was great, leaving you longing for the next sip. This was an exceptionally great beer that can only be improved by year round production from now till the end of time!

 458 characters

Photo of zealot
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I live in MN, and don't get access to the Stone gems. I was going to trade this to a friend without tasting it, but he surprised me by opening it and letting me try it with him. Thanks, Jeppe!

I knew this was going to be a black IPA, or an India Black Ale, however you want to call it. I am a big fan of expanding the definitions of traditional styles, and Stone did just that with this brew. Poured dark and opaque. It had a healthy head on it, like any IPA should. Not viscous like an Imp. Stout, but just very different from most beers.

I was too eager to taste this one, so I forgot to dissect the nose. I apologize. But I'm not going to make up a fake one. I'm going it assume it was good, based on my other ratings.

At first I felt a little let down because it just tasted like a regular IPA, but ... wait for it ... the roasted barley showed up. I am pretty sure it was roast barley and not chocolate or black patent - but maybe I'm wrong. But it was a subtle flavor that just boosted the malt profile to round out the flavor and balance the hops. Truly elegant.

Creative and artistic with this beer. Fantastic stuff. It left the great sticky tackiness of a good IPA, but with some added depth from the darker grains. I could have drank the whole bomber, but I just appreciated my taste.

I guess the only criticism I might have would be that I was hoping for just a little more from the dark grains. As stated above, they made their appearance, and it was great, but perhaps just a touch more would have been nice. BUT, the subtleties are what make this the beer that it is.

Get it. Drink it.

 1,607 characters

Photo of MarsMoose
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this at my local liquor store and thought it looked interesting. Went in with no idea of what it was supposed to be.

I found a dark beer, appearing black in the glass but actually a brown with no visible particulates. I found a somewhat persistent frothy white head with the slightest of brown tints. I took a whiff and a got a noseful of hops, yet was not offended. It seemed to me like it smelled oddly familiar. Up-front hop bitterness in the taste seems to overwhelm the slightly roasted-tasting malt, but after about 1/4 of the glass I became accustomed to the bitterness and it was quite pleasant to drink. It was also about this time that I realized that this beer is a less-intense Arrogant Bastard. I should of guessed that from the name, but I guess I'm just a dumb bastard. ; )

 795 characters

Photo of rickards9
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My buddy brought over a 22 of this beer last night. Poured from the 22 oz bottle into one Sam Adams glass and one Long Trail pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown, but with some ruby red along the edges of the glass. Normal pour provided a decent head, probably one finger, and it dissipated very slowly.

Smell: Chocolate. In your face chocolate. My buddy said he smelled some bourbon too.

Taste: I had read that it's classified as an American Black Ale, which usually to me means Black IPA. This one did not have the hops to classify it as an IPA. I got a whole lot of chocolate in the aroma and no hops. The flavor was of sweet chocolate syrup, which gave way to a more bitter aftertaste with some heat from the alcohol (it is almost 9% after all). Not hop bitter, but rather dark malt bitter.

Mouthfeel: Good body on this beer. Pretty thick and heavy.

Overall: I'm giving this a 4.5 right now, mainly because I drank it thinking it was going to be hoppy, and that it was at least 90 degrees in my kitchen. This would be an AMAZING late fall or winter beer, but mid-July? I'll stick to my IPAs and keep this cellared for a few months.

 1,146 characters

Photo of AlexTheAleMan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stone ipa glass. big, slightly dark head. very dark, but not quite as dark as a stout.

smells slightly metalic and very hoppy. i might be getting sick or suffering from allergies so i dont really smell too much.

tastes very smooth. there is a bitter upfront bite like an ipa that slowly turns into a coffee stout flavor. the bitterness lasts for a long time. very good black ipa.

considering the 8.7% abv it is very drinkable. it is fairly carbonated and finishes very smoothly.

over all this is not my favorite beer, but it is definitely delicious and worth trying. i would most definitely buy this beer again.

 630 characters

Photo of BlueCat1
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The dark color of this strong ale belies the hop kick it brings. Very tasty, excellent mouth feel..velvety...nice aroma. But still very drinkable, not heavy tasting...even on a warm summer evening. This is definitely a benchmark example of this style.

 251 characters

Photo of HopMasterFlex
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a go to beer for me. When the 11th anniversary came out I must have drank 20 bottles. It was my first time with a black ipa and frankly I never looked back. Though I feel the 11th was better than the sublimely I was still stoked to have it available year round. It bours black with a root beer hue. The head is an inviting tan. Smell is pure hops and I love it. The subtle toasted malt are present as well. This beer is the definition of an iba. The color is black bit it drinks like an ipa. Super hoppy and delicious. Nothing bad to say about this other than the smaller batch of the 11th was better. I still have 4 bottles of the 11th and I drank one the other day. The profile is completely different as you'd expect. The piney hop flavors are gone and the malt flavors are huge, it's almost choclatey. It is a completely different beer but still delicious!

 868 characters

Photo of davidsumner
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm... "strong ale", "black ipa", "dark cascadian" or "black ale" ... ???

Doesn't really matter much to me... I'm not a stickler of beer identification, all I know is that this stuff is pretty good.

It reminds me of Sierra Nevada's Torpedo and is a lot alike Stones' bastard ale.

this ale's very malt centric and has a nice dark brown or "Cola" tint to it. The head is thin and there's very little lacing.

The nose is pretty decent; again malt centric, with a good sweet candied, cake like feel. You definitely get a light roasted malt scent. The hop is lurking in the background; not exactly sure how to identify it; I want to say piney/citric; but there's a little floral too. All in all, a delightful nose with a good balance.

The taste is very nice. Not overpowering but not light either. A good medium to heavy flavor that is distinctly lightly roasted malty and candied fruit. When I say candied fruit I mean a nice candied dry fruit; mostly cherry, apricot and orange.

I hate to say this, but I'm going to anyway... the finish on this reminds me of fruit cake, but in a good way. Not the "what you hate" about fruit cake; but the actually "ok there's something good in here" aspect of fruitcake. But the finish also has that classic roasted malt taste. But a light roasted malt... not like a porter or stout.

The hops are there too; just a little hard to pin point. But there is a bitterness and it's very balanced with the sweetness of the malt; making it seem less bitter then what I'm sure it is.

All in all, a very pleasing ale. Not my favorite, but certainly not bad and I don't mind drinking it at all. This ale in my opinion is a great after dinner drink.

 1,685 characters

Photo of Crawfish61
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber $6.50 Expiration 8/31

Appearance- looks like a porter or stout with a beautiful brown head.

Smell - Like grapefruit dipped in Chocoate

Taste- Pretty much like the smell. Very delicious and I wish I had another bottle

Mouthfeel- very creamy and soft

Overall- First American Black Ale. Just awesome. Really enjoying the whole experience. Will be buying this again. Really enjoyed it.

 400 characters

Photo of Raugupatis
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is only my second review here and I decided to do it on a favorite brewery of mine, Stone. They seem to get the need for body and hops in a beer.

That being said, their 11th anniversary is not a typical Stone Beer. When I think of Stone I think of the nearly-bitter hoppiness of their Arrogant Bastard or Ruination.

In the 11th Anniversary Ale, the hops are mingled with the chocolate/coffee taste from porter, but not flawlessly so. But it is a fun diversion and I am glad I came across this one.

 506 characters

Photo of Vansmack
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Last night went to Stone Brewery and was able to get a few glasses of the 11th anniversary. I'm not a huge fan of the black beers, but I have to say that the hoppiness of it being an IPA shined through and had a balanced mix of dark and hops.

The appearance on this sucker is absolutely appealing. It's doesn't break up like a guiness or have a nasty smell like most darks. It has a clean hoppy smell.

I have to say, the only downer for me was mouthfeel. I didn't get the usual amazing burst of hops I get when tasting an IPA. It was very drinkable though and I could have sat there all night pounding one after another.

Overall... if you're at Stone any time soon, I'd definitely get a few glasses. It's only $4 a pop and its definitely worth it.


 761 characters

Photo of AlexCuse
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was doing some spring cleaning tonight, and this included going through all the beer in my pantry and trying to organize it. I bought a case of this last February after having the extremely rare pleasure (for the east coast anyways!) of having it on tap.

I was never too impressed with the bottle after having it on tap, but it was still a very solid beer. I probably hadn't had one for about 6 months, maybe longer. The time has treated this beer extremely well.

Hops have mellowed considerably, but there is still a nice grapefruit-like smell with a hint of pine. It takes me back to the time I had it on tap the second I smell it.

The mellowing of the hops have really helped it to get some balance, actually bringing the taste closer to what I experienced when I had it on tap. Its' hard to explain but in the bottle they never really seemed to mesh. Until now. Between the rich dark malts, the abundance of fruity flavors, and that intoxicating aroma, it is almost overwhelming to drink. Almost ;)

The alcohol taste remains pretty strong, but at 8.7% that is hard to avoid.

Mouthfeel is about the same, but the improved balance has really let
Like a fine wine, this is getting better and better with age. If you get a chance to drink it, don't let the age turn you off. Even though its' getting old, it still won't disappoint! I don't even have a basement either, I bet this would be even better if it had been sitting in ideal conditions.

Now, time to go drink the other half of the bottle :D

 1,508 characters

Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing
4.2 out of 5 based on 5,893 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!