Wow. That’s the first thought that hit me when I took my first sip of this monster brew. After my taste buds settled down a bit, I took a second and wow . . .
Stone prides itself on making big delicious, over-the-top, hopped-up, malted, flavorful beasts. It’s no accident that its logo features a menacing-looking gargoyle. Stone’s tag-line proudly says it all—“You’re not worthy” and for a minute, I felt perhaps I wasn’t, but I pushed on.
The Double Bastard Ale is an incarnation of the original Arrogant Bastard ale, which is a big flavorful monster of its own. Both are American Strong Ales, but the Double Bastard is just a LOT stronger. The Double Bastard seems to double… nay, triple? the flavor profile of the original. If the Arrogant Bastard punches you in the taste buds, this one kicks you in the taste buds with a steel-toed Doc Marten boot.
The Double Bastard pours a dark ruby color and smells of toasted, caramely malts, hops and a bit of booze. The chewy malts and intense, resiny hop bitterness just assault your taste buds, and then linger in a most delicious way. There is a definite alcohol warming but that’s okay, because it does not distract from your drinking experience. This beer is full-bodied and perfectly balanced, and at 11%+ ABV (probably should have checked before getting an entire pint), this is not an ale for the light-hearted. Its aggressive flavor profile may turn some people off. It’s not an ale for everyone or for everyday, but it is perfect for sipping on cool nights around the fireplace. This is a bold, delicious ale and another big hit by Stone, or rather its spin-off, Arrogant Brewing. But approach with caution and use a snifter rather than a pint glass because this bastard will knock you on your ass. —J.A.