Stone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale | Stone Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Stone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black AleStone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale
Very Good
284 Ratings
Stone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black AleStone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our collaboration beer project between 21A Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan and our friends Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Company and Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker. This beer takes its name from the historical mission trail El Camino Real (the Royal Trail, now highway 101) that linked the 21 Spanish Missions throughout California and also links the three breweries together. A dark strong ale that floats between a stout and an IPA, it incorporates indigenous ingredients from along the Camino (un)Real. The addition of dried mission figs, pink peppercorns, fennel and chia seeds brings a slight herbal, fruit and spice note built to pair with the malt and hop complexity to this 9.5% ABV beer.

Added by womencantsail on 03-27-2010

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 284 |  Reviews: 166
Reviews by HalfFull:
Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. This, the latest in what will indubitably be a continuing cascade of collaboration beers indeed pours its namesake. Namely, black. Hardly a highlight to be found, yet the mocha head runs away rather swiftly, leaving a somewhat glassy surface.

Nose of a hoppy and roasty porter with some light alcohol notes. Some roasted chocolate and carob and a bit of a brown sugar roux that went a bit too long on the flame. Somewhat smokey in nature with air. Smoked Porter on steroids?? Warms to add some black cherry.

Flavor is coarse and rich with a notable chocolate malt finish. Bit of hop and cinnamon spice accompany. Cherry infused chocolate flavors of Sabra liqueur arrive and depart at times on the finish yet don't set up camp due to the malt coarseness. Offers a nice finish but is excessively rich to revisit soon. Perhaps as a shared accompaniment to a decadent dessert would be a good call....

 945 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of brownbeer
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark and opaque with a thin, dark, light brown head.

One of the most unique and interesting noses I've encoutered in a beer. If and foremost, it reminds me of an organic food store; seedy and herbal. Black licorice, bitter orange, and chocolate are in there as well.

As far as the taste, it's a little beyond my palate, as I'm not familiar with some of the ingredients used here. In the end, it turned out very well and is a great conversation beer. Props for originality.

 474 characters

Photo of petewheeler
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate, roasted malt and piney hops. The flavor is chocolate, smoke, pine, roasted malt and toasted malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice strong ale which hides the alcohol very well. Glad I got to try this one.

 351 characters

Photo of Mantooth
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour, tan head. Dense with good lacing. Aroma was gettin' figgy w/ it. Fig, pepper, bitter hopping. Man, they should have called this beer Juxtaposition 2.

Roasted flavor comes out on the first sip, unusual spices, hopping, bitterness, we've got a complex beer here for sure. Pretty thick and chewy, without the usual hallmarks: chocolate, alcohol etc. . . might even see some vanilla creep in there as it warms.

It has a little bit of that weird for weird sakes thing going on, but on the other hand, the beer is pleasureable in small quantities. A little pricey, but worth checking out since its kind of a novelty.

 626 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can at Soulshine Farm Music Festival.
This strong ale has an exceptionally complex and rich flavor. Not harmonious however, with some sense of clashing flavors. Mild-moderate bitterness. Full body with near medium carbonation.

 237 characters

Photo of hagbergl
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a dense chocolate tan head that is creamy and thick. There are strands of tiny bubbles trailing up the sides of the glass.
S- This beer has a full nose of northwest green earthy hops and a chocolate rich milk sugar aroma in the finish.
T- The dark chocolate malt flavor has a black malt bitterness that is mellow with some nice black roasted flavor blending in with green herbal hops and both flavors lingering together after each sip.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a well hidden alcohol heat.
D- This beer has the creamy rich flavor of a milk stout but it has big flavors of roasted bitterness and full green hops that all blend together with a rich chocolate flavor. Although this beer is big in flavor and complexity it is very drinkable and mysterious enough to beg you to take another sip after sip.

 909 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of alcohline_trip
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of InfernoBoss
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of alamode
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of nkersten
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pours dark dark brown with a 1 finger tan head that sticks around until the end. No lacing. Smell is entirely alcohol. Maybe some dark malt buried in the back, but considering all the ingredients listed on the bottle (chai, peppercorns, fig, etc) I would expect something more. Taste however is much different. No alcohol presence, minimal malt sweetness but still has a nice dark fruit flavor from the fig and a decent hop bitterness to back up the sweetness. Black peppercorns are non-existent, which isn't a bad thing. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin but works well for a strong/black ale. No boozy burn. This beer is quite drinkable... I barely had any left to reference for this review! A good collaboration, try this one out if you get a chance.

 753 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Roast and rosmary in the aroma. Black with some off-brown head, and lacey. Above-average mouthfeel. Some spice and pepper,a little vanilla, but mainly Coffee taste. Not getting so much of the uniqueness. Decent carbonation. So-so beer, a little disapointing.

 258 characters

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, Sam Adams glass,

Very dark brew. It has a purple-ish hue and a serious milk chocolate, Imperial Stout grade head. That head has some very good retention and the same can be said about the lacing.

Any peppercorn spice in the nose is very soft. Dark chocolate bars and figs abound. Alcohol is not hot, but seems to be adding to the fig for a rich, velvety Port aspect. I initially noticed a smokiness that seemed to get lost and then returned when I focused once again.

Sweetness is present but toned down from what one might expect. Smoky chocolate, fig, and char linger and create an ashy, dry, overall excellent finish. Even here the signature Stone (or just West coast) citric and pine hops find a place far, far in the back. Espresso teases and shoves this pretty far towards Imperial Stout territory.

The mouthfeel is full, rounded, and pretty much perfect. I can't see how it could be improved. It fits.

This is one big beer that I really want more of. The mix of ingredients seems to have a very good result even though I cannot single them all out. I am surprised that the fennel isn't apparent; it is unusual for it not to make itself known.

 1,172 characters

Photo of socon67
3.22/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown pour. Cola color foam rises hig and settles quickly. Moderate lacing.

S - Smells of raisins, molasses, and peppery spice. There is some residual hoppy smell but it is fleeting.

T - Tastes like a hodge-podge of flavors. Some sweetness of dried fruit that has some bready notes; like a fig newton. Has some spicy notes of freshly ground pepper. Finish is mildly bitter. But it really comes off very odd.

M - I don't think the balance on this is right, or at least I didn't like it. Had a slight aftertaste.

O - Was disappointed in this as I like all 3 of the breweries involved. Well, it isn't the first collaboration to miss the mark.

 653 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, shipped by lou91

ale brewed with fennel seed, chia seed, pink pepercorns with mission figs added

appearance: served in my delirium chalice, very dark body, huge creamy brown head with creamy retention. nice

smell: rich roasted malts, cocoa, fig, earthy

taste: very strange beer - roasted malts and cocoa mimic a stout profile, bitter piney hops let you know that Stone is involved, a touch smokey, some spice from the peppercorns but not much flavor. I think the fennel gets a little lost in the shuffle but the figs provide a rich sweet flavor accent.

mouthfeel: medium, creamy with decent carbonation, alcohol and hop bitterness in the finish

drinkability: finish is a little rough, but an interesting beer

 728 characters

Photo of MASPuros
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of ordybill
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass. The appearance is pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is black licorice and some coffee. The taste is underwhelming. to much licorice flavoring.

 195 characters

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. The first stone collab beer I actually like. I think I might actually get some to age.

Pours a dark black with a very nice brown head lending good lacing down the glass.

The aroma is pleasent. Very floral. I smell a whole combo of things but I have never experienced these ingrediance before so I don't know which is which. But it smells very nice. Some sort of nutty aroma as well.

Taste is good. Slightly bitter. A flavor I would like to age out and see how it changes. Tastes like alot of the flavors haven't married together well yet. Bitter dark malts, dark fruit a bit and a little malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is great.

Overall a tasty beer I'm going to go get a couple more of and age to see how they turn out.

 726 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours dark black with a very light creamy cocoa head. very little retention.

light chocolate, hints of coffee, light spice, needs a bit more.

light coffee up front followed by hints of chocolate. a bit of spice lies inside and adds a bit of vibrant flavor. light sweetness through out. nice citrus hops through the finish. very well rounded out over all.

pretty full bodied, carbonation has some bite, drinks fairly easy though.

the flavor was nice, everything worked well. nice subtle flavors that came together. the 9.5 ABV however means only one here and there. if i found this again, i'd probably get some more. curious how this ages to be honest.

 656 characters

Photo of kkrez
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of AleWynch
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Stout in color...murky dark, nice 1 finger, mocha head, decent lace.

S: Very pleasant clear hop aroma. Earthy, a little piney... All green and fresh hop on the nose. Really, really nice hop aroma here.

T: Initial fennel/mint right up front (nice), followed by a solid malt backbone - but not portery or stout-like to me, but more ala the malt backbone of 90min IPA...Nice malt complexity with figs and spice (smoky peppercorn)...Nice long finish. I think you have to set aside its color so as not to start classifying it as a porter/stout style. With eyes closed, it's a DIPA with extra interest...

M: Soft, rich, but again like a malty DIPA, not so much a porter or stout...Seems on target.

D: ABV is well hidden. Will be interesting to see how it cellars. Not sure I'd want to drink them all night, but can't find anything to detract from drinkability.

 861 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Stone / 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker - El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 284 ratings