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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, an oak chip infused take on Stone Brewing’s iconic strong ale, poured a rich, golden amber into the glass, topped with a huge cream head fed by small carbonation trails.  The nose carried forward an almost bourbon-like caramel and vanilla sweetness, with citric and pine hops playing against a pronounced, slightly charred woody oak.

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard opened with heavy caramel, offset by grapefruit rind and resinous pine that played well against the carbonation.  The oak chips came through strong in the middle, imparting dry, tannic wood, vanilla, and earthy tones that as well as caramelized sugar as the ale warmed on the tongue.  A slightly liquor-esque fruity yeast character was noticeable at times, but didn’t stand a chance against the lead in.  The ale ended on a dry, woody bourbon fade with a touch of hop bitterness.

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard certainly wears the oak chip additions on its sleeve, but I can’t help but think there are other additions to the standard Arrogant Bastard recipe.  The addition of oak certainly changes the focus of the palette to the malts, lending the ale the aforementioned bourbon characteristic.  To my taste, the oak could stand to be a bit less pronounced (and I love oak).  I likely stand in the minority by saying I feel this ale is different, not better, than Stone’s standard Arrogant Bastard offering.  A great beer worth seeking out, but the price keeps it from being a contender for a regular rotator at my house.

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