Two recent beers by stone seemed to fit to be reviewed together. They are pretty different from each other though neither one of them is particularly hoppy. First up is Stone’s Sprocketbier, a dark rye Kolsch style ale.
San Diego beer drinkers may be more familiar with the Kolsch style of beer from the Ballast Point Pale Ale but this is a much darker beer. The beer has a strong smoky flavor with a slight bitter taste from the rye that puts it closer to a bitter stout. At 5.4% this is one beer you won’t mind having all to yourself. I found the flavor overall satisfying.
Stone’s Quadro Triticale is the third release in the Stochasticity series of beers. I didn’t get to try the second release and this one doesn’t make me feel overly sad.
The Quadro Triticale is a Belgian Style Quad, a beer that IPA fans don’t always like because it tends to be on the sweet side and not particularly bitter. This one has some added brown sugar and it really shows. This is a thick heavy malty beer with a sweet sugary flavor on the front end. Sometimes when the rye comes through it gives it a nice mild spicy kick but it tends to be overpowered by the sugar a bit too much.
I’m glad that I tasted this beer at a friend’s house so I didn’t have to buy a few bottles. It certainly wasn’t off-putting bad but it wasn’t particularly impressive either. If I had to choose between these two I say go with the Sprocket.
As a fun counter to the wide release of their Session IPA, Lagunitas also released a black IPA in 22oz bottles. By the time I enjoyed my bottle it was not significantly brimming with hop flavors but still very enjoyable. This beer pours dark as any stout and should satisfy stout drinkers who don’t mind a little hop flavor in their beer. It isn’t as thick as a typical stout on the higher alcohol but it is still nice and smooth drinking.
The first thing I tasted with this beer was a smoky flavor that reminded me of barbeque or other smoked meats. The beer also has plenty of sweet caramel and chocolate flavors. Behind this I tasted some light citrus hops and a bit of strong bitterness (claimed 85IBU). My husband remarked that this one was too hoppy for him though I think he considered it too bitter. I was overall impressed with this beer and you should check it out if you happen to see it in stores. This special release was put out in April so it should be great well into July. Because the flavors are already much more in favor of the big malts it might be enjoyable much longer than that.
If you love both hoppy beers and dark beers you might find that most dark beers are too sweet, or not bitter enough. Sublimely Self Righteous is the cure to that, giving bitter chocolate flavors you might recognize from a porter and mixing in the hop flavors that hop addicts love. To see if those who hate IPAs and exclusively drink porters and stouts think, I gave my fiance a taste. He pursed his lips and said “too hoppy” so don’t expect to share this with the less enlightened among you.
In some ways, it is the darker version of the Alesmith Winter Yulesmith. Where the Winter Yulesmith has malts, this has chocolate, but both are perfectly balanced with the hop flavors. At 8.7% you might be able to finish a bottle on your own, though I don’t know if I can say the same thing about the Double Bastard. Make sure you get a bottle of this while this year’s batch is fresh, before the end of November and into the first half of December it should be the best.
[As a fun side note, my brother thought this tasted more like beef jerky. He didn’t like it much either]