Stone Brewing

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American Brown Ale
3.81 | pDev: 12.6%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: Collaboration with Bear Republic Brewing and Fat Head's Brewing
Reviews: 209 | Ratings: 604 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BEERchitect
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Its perplexing that a Texas Brown Ale would be initiated by three brewers in Stone, Bear Republic and Fat Heads have no breweries in Texas. (ok, not all that perplexing) Yet, the beer pays homage to the southwest days of exploring ale ingredients that grow in those anorexic areas.

Dark amber in color, the ale shares ominous bark brown low lights. With a translucent glow, the ale shows ribbons of garnet and ruby. A quick froth rises from the body with an creamy ivory stain to last the session and to lace with defined rings at each sip. An IPA in froth but a brown in body.

Sharp hop aromas are a focused grapefruit scent. Bright zesty and spicy to the nose, the hop dominance is partially balanced with molasses, toast, brown sugar and pepper. There's a sense of dryness to the beer just by its scent.

And as expected, the beer's initial palate is all about the taste of molasses, brown sugar and toffee but without the associated sweetness of those flavors. Its dry malt taste is lightly starch and creamy and is the perfect springboard for hops. Bitter white grapefruit reigns supreme in the middle as the undeniable taste of pith, peels and oils provide a gripping bitterness in finish that easily overshadows the toast, nutty and coffee-like malt contributions. Its spicy, grassy and stemmy finish is oddly herbal- as if in sassafras teas.

Its dry malt taste translates easily to a malty-dry texture. Somewhat arid and spicy, the beer quickly turns warm and mildly astringent, aided by toasted malts and high rate of attenuation. Its fleeting finish is further dried by hops and toast char.

Its an inquisitive ale that's the precursor of more hop-forward American Brown Ales like Dogfish Head's India Brown Ale. But its spindly heritage gives the beer's taste and texture a rustic and unrefined taste that's commonly associated with Anchor Steam Beer. Its an endearing ale with quirks and a "winging-it" kind of spirit. Kinda like driving a Model-T after getting out of a Cadillac.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

P: Beautiful pour. Dark murky wake of brown swamp water with a multitude of floaters. Dense frothy khaki head that jiggles like pudding. Great retention and intricate lacing.

S: Sweet syrup, molasses, brown sugar, maple, toasted toffee and caramel, spicy hops, clove, trash bag funk. Dark fruits, timid smoke, traces of smoldered wood chips. Spices are tingling my nose.

T/M: Huge taste of ground spices cooked in molasses to the point of burning. Burnt toffee, grains and wood gives off the signature Stone smoke presence. Earthy and spiced hops deliver a rustic flare. Dark fruits soaked in spiced rum and brown sugar. Busquity yeast and hidden funkiness in the background. Syrupy body with a gentle massage of bubbly carbonation. Finishes dry and earthy. Touches of oxidation.

O: I was worried that this would be bad from the reviews I read since it was old but I was really impressed. I loved the rugged flavors and spice profile against the sugary sweetness. This could be a meal in a glass. The hop profile was nice and complimenting and not overly bitter. I wish I could have tried this fresh.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Served in a tasting glass at the Bear Republic brewery. From notes. Reviewed 28 April 2012.

A: Clear amber beer; good head retention.

S: Smoky chipotle, slightly metallic. Interesting.

T: Smoky metal and awkward hops. I don't think it works very well. Chipotle and lemon? Roasted endtaste.

M: Meh, the warm it gets, the flatter it goes. Not very good.

O: Not recommended. It's an awkward mishmash of flavors.

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Photo of pkalix
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cloudy brown, more rusty-brown... super creamy head.
lots of hop smell, but something else distinct in the aroma. would it be the brown sugar/molasses?
twangy kind of bitterness at the beginning. more sipping produces a funky odor in my nose....

interesting little note on the bottle. DRINK FRESH DO NOT AGE. hmmm, upon searching the bottle, THERE IS NO DATE ON THE BOTTLE, how can I know if i'm getting it fresh? how can I know i'm getting good product? it's a COLLABORATION brew so that means it's only brewed ONCE, right? so I scroll down the BA page and see reviews from AUGUST 2012 ? ? ? ? crap. I got a bad brew. that explains the funkiness. not UNdrinkable, but definitely enough funk to cause me to research it. I believe I got this at Baycrest Liquor in Costa Mesa...

oh well.... that's my review.
i'm sorry. I AM throwing it down the drain. the 4.5 on appearance is still well-deserved, though. beautiful pour...

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a cloudy brown hue, burnished to reddish hues some places at the edges. Head is frothy and pleasant: quite fine and slick and pale beige in colour. It forms pleasing rings of lace as it goes down as well. Body is fluid, but it has some heft to it. Looks pretty good overall.

Nose is also good. Pleasant brown malt characters giving it a richness and some sweetness, while the spices lend undertones of fennel and caraway, which work well with the malt. There's a faint resiny hop character, that also veers into aniseed, like the fennel. Overall, it's also pretty good.

Taste is smooth and solid, while perhaps losing a bit of it's structure and its uniqueness. Here, all the characters have been sanded down to remove all the rough edges: it's very coherent and integrated. However, the edges, the spices and the uniqueness were what made the nose interesting, so while it's solid stuff, it's also a little bit more pedestrian here on the palate.

Feel is smooth, but with a weakness on the back.

Overall, this is decent enough, but it promised more than it could deliver. There were plenty of pleasant things about it, and it integrated them all well into a genuinely solid package. But it didn't go beyond that, and I feel as though it really could have.

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Photo of warnerry
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 7/2012

A - Pours murky brown with almost two fingers of dense, creamy looking tan head. Head has nice retention and leaves great lacing.

S - If I didn't already know from reading the label, this is definitely brewed with molasses, and it comes through in the nose. Also brown sugar and some citrus hop aromas. Smells good.

T - Hops come through even more in the taste, and offer a nice bitter balance to the sweeter malts. I think hoppy brown ales are more enjoyable than black ales and this one works very well.

M - Medium mouthfeel, with creamy carbonation and a dry bitter finish.

Between this and More Brown Than Black, I would love to see Stone do a year-round hoppy brown ale. Vary tasty.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Murky reddish brown in color. Big head of foam on the pour. The nose is intensely hoppy. Just a hint of the brown sugar and molasses in the aroma. Great head retention. The flavor is mainly about the hops and the brown sugar and molasses almost gives it a bit of a spicey flavoring. A bit of a moderate mouthfeel. The hops definitely prickle the tongue in the aftertaste.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown molasses color. Good solid head, about an inch with a little swirl of the last few ounces from the bottle. Head was tan with half retaining for a good solid amount of time. A bit on the murky side being the only drawback.

S: Strong caramel and barley. A little tinny note to it with some musk. Some rich mahogany and maybe some leatherbound books.

T: Highly roasted hazelnut and barley flavors with some bready sweetness. Even slightly charred hardwood. The roast drastically overtaken by the bitter dry hops flavor with even a little dry leaf flavor. A little too much bittering throws the balance off a little. Orange peel long after a sip lingers on the back of the tongue. The higher alcohol is nicely covered with the rich variety of flavors.

M: Balanced except for a little too much hop on the finish. The bottle clearly states 'extra hoppy brown ale' but i think just 'hoppy brown ale' would have been better. A lot of dryness comes from the hops and leaves an unquenched feeling. More than one or two of these would leave me feeling full and uncomfortable.

O: I had one of these about a year ago and really liked it. Now that I'm reviewing it I'm not as ecstatic. But I do really like it; it's a very unique rendition of a brown ale and the mild sweetness is a very welcome, yet subtle, player here. Honestly, I maybe would prefer it more as a winter warmer and it wasn't June.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip)
A- This beer pours a hazy dense garnet body with a thick tan head and a strong carbonation supporting the head for most of the beer.

S- The perfume of hops is like sticking your head in a bag of cascade hops and it is heard to stop sniffing this beer and start drinking it.

T- The green herbal and floral hops are very bright with a pungent dark green hop taste that lingers a bit after each sip. There is a mellow roasted malt hint underneath the hops.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz that gives a bit of a creamy texture and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- The big fresh hop aroma is amazing but it doesn’t transfer fully to the taste. The taste has some mysterious dark malt character that supports the hops and adds some nice depth.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip.

Look- Opaque ruby brown with three fingers of loose head that settles dlowly. Meager lacing.

Smell- Brown sugar, red velvet cake, mild grapefruit. Swirling brings out a chocolate ice cream aroma.

Taste- Burnt caramel, roasted almonds, raisin. Earthy, herbal bittering.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, light-medium carbonation. Moderately abrasive feel. Dry, toasty finsh. Not as smooth or rich as expected.

Overall- Well, I've got to say this is something of a flop. Overpriced and really not that good. Avery New World Porter is extremely similar and blows this out of the water. I certainly wouldn't want to pick up a six pack of this.

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Photo of mralphabet
4.39/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Poured a dark amber with a good 2 fingers worth of head that settled to a thin layer with wonder lacing from start to finish.

S: I'm getting a big hit of caramel, brown sugar, molasses and a bunch of hops... mix of piny, floral and citrus hop.

T: Just like the smell big sweet caramel, brown sugar, and molasses but then the hops kicks in and it really kicks in.. big hits of citrus, floral and piny hops.

M: Medium bodied, bitter but pretty smooth. Aftertaste is a little on the bitter side.

O: I love a good brown and I'm not a big IPA guy, but this beer was really interesting to be and even though it leans heavily to the hoppy side I really liked this onesubstance. Worth picking up.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.68/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Three brewers I love--so disappointed. Pours a nice brown with big head. Smells like brown sugar and lemon. Not what I was expecting. Taste seems a bit like Lemon Pinesol and dish soap. These flavors do not mesh. Light mouthfeel and bitterness like a IPA. Not feeling this one. I don't know where they were trying to go with this floor cleaner flavor. Blegh.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from "Lifesource" in Salem $2.49 on sale Clear hazelnut brown coloured ale large thick frothy light tan head. Fine aromas of spicy/citic hops..pleasantly surprised. Some chocolate and nuts also Smooth,creamy dark chocolate and toffeeish malt tastes with a good bit of hop in the back which comes to the fore at the end. Nice really Great smooth yet thickish mouthfeel. Great beer ..even if it was on sale and out on a shelf not in the fridge.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.13/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two minute long retention. Nice lacing. Copper or auburn color with medium clarity.

S- Brown sugar and medium bodied malts. Warm and sugary but still not very strong.

T- Hop forward and sugary. Bitter and strong.

M- Aggressive carbonation and medium bodied, sugary linger.

O- Decent collaboration, not ideal.

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Photo of socon67
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Brown pour with robust foamy head. Rusty red hue in the light. Some lacing is present.

S - Smells of fresh fruits and sugary cake. Has a slight wet hop smell.

T - Rich taste of sweet sugary berries and cake. Has flavors of a summer dessert. Finish has a lingering hop bitterness that is fairly mild.

M - Complexity and balance is nice, but this one seems to be a bit heavy-handed.

O - Nice collarobation to try and enjoy. Certainly a very flavorful brown ale.

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Photo of KKB
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok so even though this beer hasn't really received rave reviews, I'm actually pretty dang excited to drink it owing to the fact that it is a collaboration between three (well, at least two) of my favorite breweries. So, without further ado, here we go.

A - Cloudy golden brown body with very light carbonation and a tan head. Somewhat translucent with gold around the edges...slight cola look.

S - Slight burnt malt (that just becomes a little malty with warming) smell with hops and a sweetness in the nose as well probably from the molasses and sugar, some definite hops in the nose as well. Very nice, if somewhat mild.

T - More of the nose really, it's good, if somewhat underwhelming. It's got a little more of that charred malt...I sat on it for a minute cause I was afraid I was drinking it a little bit too cold, and it has definitely opened up some, some of the molasses is coming through and the hops are a bit more noticeable. It's still pretty underwhelming overall though. Not bad, don't get me wrong, just not great...as it get really warm too some of the sugar starts talking to you, don't hate it.

M - Mouthfeel is right on, whenever Stone is involved you can pretty much bank on the mouthfeel being right on and this is no exception.

O - I wouldn't seek this out, if it was offered to me I would drink it. It's good, don't get me wrong. But I've been getting spoiled lately and I would say that this is just good, and not too far above it.

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Photo of babaracas
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with amber edges, billowing tan head. Smell: brown sugar, roasty, wood smoke, orange citrus. Taste: toast, caramel, quick grapefruit note, sweet orange, mild roast and cocoa. Hopping is subdued in the nose for "Hoppy Brown Ale," but picks up. Medium bodied, creamy. A bit overcarbonated, drying earthy + citric finish. Interesting, different. Was this brewed more than once?

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a deep brown with burnt orange hues at its edges. Clarity looks to be good. The pillowy sand-colored head is quite large and impressive. Retention is phenomenal. Thick collars of lacing clutch the glass.

S: Caramel, molasses, brown sugar,. Faint woody and cocoa notes. Faint leather. Hops are piney and full of citrus pith; slightly floral and spicy too. Cascade is definitely the dominant hop here.

T: Bitter hop bite of pine and grapefruit starts to mellow out and shift into bright tropical citrus notes, though a resiny pine bitterness is pervasive. Malt tastes start to steal the spotlight as bread crust and some woody tastes start to take over. Brown sugar makes a strong thrust on the mid-palate. Sugary molasses and faint notes of caramel chews and cocoa are also perceptible. Ghost-like kiss of smoke. Hops develop a leafy/spicy edge toward the end. Finishes with oily, piney hop tastes and a lingering brown sugar sweetness.

M: Moderately thick body. Very full and creamy, slightly chewy. Enamel scraping hop feel. Low to moderate carbonation.

O: The hopping would be nice here . . . if this were an IPA. The malt base comes across as too sweet and a bit cloying. Definitely too much brown sugar. The hop bitterness doesn't so much balance the sweetness as it does vie with it for dominance. This beer is one big clash, and it makes for a less than desirable drinking experience.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: medium brown, slightly translucent, nice beige head that left tons of gooey lace all down the glass

S: I might've missed some of this - I got some malts and a little sweetness, but not much else

T: very impressed: bitter hops burst out, but a wash of subtle and soft brown malts sweeten the pot; hints of brown sugar and vanilla, but then wham! More bitter hops... Great back-and-forth.

M: light on the tongue, low carbonation, great aftertaste (you're gonna want more); super drinkability - the 7.1% abv may be too much for some session drinkers, but I could drink this all night

O: again, very impressed - I've passed on this a few times, not really sure what to make of it - but today was "buy new beers" day and boy, am I glad I did. Instantly one of my favorite brown ales, probably owing to the two-headed punch of excellent-tasting hops and brown malts. I would definitely re-buy this. Makes me wish I had either another one, or one of Stone's smoked porters to follow it up.

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Photo of BrianGaynor
4.36/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: beautiful hazy brown appearance with a light tan finger head. Looks delicious.

Aroma: strong malty scent

Taste: slightly bitter taste. Some vanilla comes through, or is that the brown sugar? Either way a pleasant taste.

Palate: lightly carbonated and easy to drink.

Overall: this is the second time I’ve had this beer; I got it before and enjoyed it so much I wanted to get it again.

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Photo of zac16125
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
no born on date, 2012 bottle

A: An aggressive pour yields an opaque mahogany brown with 3 fingers width of light tan colored head which dissipates down to 1/2 a finger that remains throughout the drink.  Leaves a good amount of streaky lacing.  

S: Citrus hops, brown sugar, smokey roasted malt, a slightly astringent anise type of aroma.  Pretty nice.  

T: Smokey, roasted malts, medicinal, noticeable bitterness that I guess is from the hops, although its not traditional hop flavors (or maybe they are just masked by the big smokey/roast notes).  Pretty unique, so bonus points for that, but not all that enjoyable.  

M/D: Pretty heavy carbonation, medium bodied, drinkability is below average.  

O:   Overall, Im not impressed.  Im not sure when this was released, or how it was fresh, but as is its not my thing.  Pretty one dimensional with smokey/roasted malts dominating.  I love all 3 of these breweries, but this collaboration is one Id pass on in the future.  

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Photo of jegross2
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing T.B.A., a collaboration brown ale from Stone Brewing Company, Fat Heads Brewery & Saloon and Bear Republic Brewing Company.
Score: 87

2012 vintage bottle. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 09/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a root beer-ish brown color with three titanic fingers of tan foamy, dense soda-like head that slowly settles to a think creamy layer of head. Really good lacing, slightly above average retention. 4/5

Smell: Lots of grapefruity hops upfront, then cocoa, brown sugar and a touch of caramel malt. A hint of raisins too. Smells like a black IPA. 3.75/5

Taste: Pine wood flavor upfront, followed by creamy, but cotton-mouthing grapefruit and hot cocoa. There is a little brown sugar flavor towards the finish too, but it is not very sweet. Smooth and subtle caramel malt backbone. A cocoa-y grapefruit flavor really sticks and lingers on the back of the tongue. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: Light-plus bodied, medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish. A little sweet, a little bitter. 4/5

Overall: I honestly expected to hate this beer, but I found that I enjoyed it. The grapefruit aroma/taste is really interesting, and the mouthfeel really works with the beer's flavor profile to enhance the drinking experience. While not anything that would set the earth on fire, this brown ale tastes much more like a solid black IPA. This not a beer I would go out of my way to try again, but I would certainly drink another glass if offered again.

Recommendation: Worthy trying, not worth going out of your way to hunt down. Casual beer drinkers might find the mouthfeel and wood flavor strange, but I enjoyed it.

Pairings: Cohiba cigars.

Cost: $3.49 for a 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this a few times at tastings, but never reviewed it... Picked up a bottle locally tonight in preparations of the Boise "Stone Tap Takeover". These bottles were cellared at Stone and never made it to Boise out of the gate.

Paid $3 for the 12oz at the COOP. Poured into my slim tulip... 2 finger khaki head... great retention and lacing... the brew is a slightly hazed light walnut color... pretty.

Nose shows slight grapefruit hoppiness... some brown sugar and hints of toffee.. maybe some raisin... seems a bit "old"

Sorta what I expected... a decent hop bitterness... the hop flavor has died back leaving only some residual pithy hoppiness.. Does not taste as "brown" as I was expecting... the caramel malt and some brown maltiness is pretty light... finishes fairly dry with just the slight essence of burnt sugars and still a surprising hop bite... flavors are a little thin throughout.

Body is a bit too carbonated... a bit burpy..

I appreciate a good American Brown ale though, I don't buy them enough.. This is pretty okay, but nothing to right home about.


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Photo of coastiefish
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Loaded with slow moving tiny carbonation. Poured from a 12oz into a tulip. Foamy one finger light tan head. Rich brown body

S - Grapefruit toffee nose. Bittery orange peel. Sweet and hint of smokey

T - Roasted malts, a bit spicy, herbally hopped

M - Puffy from all the carbonation, I wish it drank just a bit smoother

O - Pretty good brew. I dont drink much of the style, however I did enjoy it.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this in a store on my way back from Boston today.
Pours a solid dark brown with a smallish off white head that slowly dissipates but never leaves. Earthy spicy piney hops on top of a hint of bready chocolatey malt sums up the aroma quite well. The flavor is sharp resinous bitter with a bit of mineral water and a hint of bread chocolate and caramel. Medium to thin body with a moderate level of carbonation and a resinous chalky mouthfeel. This is probably a bit less than fresh as the hops seems to be muted and not bright. Decent enough beer, but I'll bet it was much better fresh.

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TBA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 604 ratings