While watching football today, I'm going to tell the tale of three Bastards, that is, Stone's Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, and Oak Aged Bastard. I'm always leery of beer (or anything really) with kitchy marketing, but I've had the original Bastard before, and I remember it being pretty decent. That, coupled with Miles's glowing review of the double, has inspired me to give them another (or a new) look and a formal review.
First up, I have the original Arrogant Bastard. I paid $5.39 for a 22 ouncer. This beer weighs in at a pretty respectable 7.2% ABV.
The beer pours a nice reddish brown color with a good, persistent head. It smells somewhat sweet, with a little bit of citrus hops. This beer tastes sweeter than I remember, and the hop flavor is a little milder. That's no points against it. Instead, the bittersweet character of this beer is very well balanced. The hop flavor of this beer is quite nice -- good flavor without being overly bitter. I like the malt behind it all, and the hop flavor lingers nicely. Overall, this is a very good beer. I'm awarding it
and a half
Up next is the Double Bastard. This beer weighs in at a hefty 10% abv, and I paid $8.69 for a 22 oz bottle.
The double pours almost the same color as the single. I expected it to be somewhat darker. It does have more head, though. It smells pretty similar. Taking a sip, it tastes very similar, too. It's not all that much more hoppy, and it's only a little bit richer, really. It's just a hair sweeter. I can't taste much more alcohol in it, either. All in all, this beer isn't all that different from the single Bastard. It's just a hair better with marginally more maltiness and sweetness, but not enough to earn an extra half of a heart. I'm awarding it
. Consequently, I can't recommend paying the premium for the Double Bastard over the regular. Dollars to donuts to drunkenness, I'd rather have two of the singles than one of the doubles. This is also a very good beer, but it's not much of an improvement over the original. We'll have to see how the oaked version fares.
And finally, we have the Oaked Bastard. I've been skeptical of the oaked beers so far. I've found the oaking to be a small increase in quality compared to the increase in price. We'll see how we fare here. I paid 4.19 for a 12 oz bottle. It's just over $20 for a sixer. This weighs in at 7.2% abv, same as the original Bastard.
Taking a whiff of this beer, it smells similar to the others, but the wood actually comes through nicely. Sipping, and it's clear that this is a great beer. I can taste the oak aging, and it adds nice complexity. As expected, the hops are good, and the sweetness is good, but not overpowering. I'm going to award this beer
and a half
. I'm pleasantly surprised that an oaked beer came through so well. I tip my hat to the Stone brewery.