After everything that has been going on, I really needed a night out. Fortunately, I found out that a local distributor had picked up Stone Brewing and we would now be able to get it in our area. A local bar, Fat Jack’s, was having a “tap takeover” (like they did with Goose Island a couple months ago) with several Stone beers. I had several of their beers when a friend from San Diego shipped me a few last year, and loved them, especially their Arrogant Bastard. So, when I saw they had the Double Bastard on draft, that’s what I went for.
Numbers: 11.2% ABV
Appearance & Aroma: A hazy brownish-mahogany color, there was a thin, creamy, cream-colored head. There was a big, sweet malty aroma that was a mix of caramel and dark fruits with a bit of alcohol. While the malt smells dominated, there was a healthy dose of piney/citrus hop aroma as well.
Taste & Feel: At 11.5% ABV, you can imagine that this is pretty full bodied. There was crisp bit of carbonation on the front, followed by a a very complex sweet malt flavor. The maltiness is hard to describe, but has sweet dark caramel, honey, molasses, and a bit raisiny. It reminds me a bit of a barleywine. A bold hoppy flavor was able to cut through the big maltiness in the finish. The hops were big, piney and citrusy, but it was a battle between the malt and hops in the aftertaste. The more I drank it, the more the alcohol warmth in my throat became noticeable.
Food Pairing: This is a really big beer which would stand on its own, but since it’s so big, it should probably be paired with some food. The huge malt flavor would probably go best with BBQ, as the sweet caramel and complex flavors might pull out similar flavors in the sauce.
Overall Impression: I really enjoyed their Arrogant Bastard, which I referred to as a “session barleywine.” At 11.5% ABV, this is definitely a double version of that one. It’s big and bold and gets in your face with a big malty flavor matched with a huge dose of hops. I enjoyed the complex malt flavors and the alcohol warmth. Since the flavors were bigger and more intense than the Arrogant Bastard, you really have to be ready to sit down and sip this one. I really enjoyed this beer, and it is still among the better beers I’ve tried, but I think I actually prefer the original Arrogant Bastard to this one.