Stone Arrogant Bastard

There's something very attractive about a beer with the motto "You're not worthy" and a demon on the label. It announces itself with verve. In Beervana, this attitude is rewarded, as has been Arrogant Bastard, with devotion and sales. I have tippled a few myself, but oddly, the beer doesn't stay in my memory. I received a gift bottle recently (thanks Iggi!), and decided to pull out the critical apparatus and have a look. Here are my findings.

Tasting Notes
I was surprised at how dark the Bastard pours. In my memory, I recalled it being a lighter amber. Despite the agression of the name, it's a rather beautiful walnut. There's also an attractive latte-colored head to the beer--surprisingly frothy for a beer of this strength. The indignities continue: the aroma is rich and nutty with delicious citrus notes and promising alcohol volatility. It may be a Bastard, but it's purty and smells nice.

Unfortunately, I find the beer a little less interesting on the palate. If I give you a laundry list of the flavors, it'll sound like a great beer--I get a deep nutty maltiness and creamy mouthfeel and hops throughout. There are strong flavors suggestive of barleywines and old ales, the kind of hopping (bitterness and flavor) that Beervanians love.

But the parts add up to something less as a whole. As is more common than not with strong ales, it's out of balance. The distinctive quality is a sharpness wrought of clashing bites--hop, alcohol, barley. Beers of great intensity and strength don't have to punish you, but this Bastard does. (And maybe I'm starting to see from whence the name came.)

I compare beers like Arrogant Bastard with two titans of the genre--the now sadly defunct Sasquatch Strong and Russian River's Pliny the Elder, both of which found the sweet spot where the intensity of flavors melded into transcendent beers. Arrogant Bastard has the style; it just misses on flavor. Probably that's why I have a murky memory of it--I love the packaging and style, and I can't reconcile it with the flavor.

Results vary, of course, so maybe you'll like it. Many have.

ABV: 7.2
Availability: 19 states and DC; Stone has a list here.
No other stats are available for the beer, which is odd for a company with such verve.