Beer Review 0164: Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Review 0163 featured a beer that I should have probably put to the test within my first twenty reviews — Stone’s Arrogant Bastard (91 points) — so to give the Escondido company a little credit, we’re going to do the Oaked version of Arrogant Bastard today.

The Oaked Arrogant Bastard is just the regular Arrogant Bastard aged with American oak chips. As far as I know, the beers remain exactly the same except for the oak chips. And we all know oak tends to do excellent things to beer.

So does oak amp up the Arrogant Bastard into an even worse self-righteous prick? Let’s see…

The pour gave up a small, creamy, compact head that sat lazily atop a deep amber beer, colored with orange highlights when held to bright light. The body was hazy with a light dusting of particles present, and the lacing was of fine quality, leaving solid thick sheets on the glass.

One sniff of this beer gave the impression that something foul was up. Right up front there was a weird musty cherry scent that I didn’t think was supposed to be there. Upon checking the date on the bottle, this beer is still good — but I’m convinced something was going on. The regular Arrogant Bastard was fairly hop-forward; this was not, with only a light touch of some faint citrus and flowers. The malts were hidden, too, just some sweet caramel lingering, dominated by that funky cherry thing. I noticed no oak presence on the nose…and while this wasn’t a terrible aroma, it wasn’t what I expected or hoped for, either…

The taste was much better, delivering a creamy but still gritty mouthfeel; caramel malt at the start which led to bitterness in the middle in the form of grapefruit and soft flowers. The finish was complex and nice, just like the regular Arrogant Bastard, with a mild coffee before a rush of bitterness took over — again, more grapefruit and this time, a pine note. The oak shows up on the tail end of the finish, inserting just the right amount of a woodsy taste.

Despite the disappointing aromatics, this was a decent but not great beer from Stone — to say I was let down would be accurate. I fully expected this to be better than regular Arrogant Bastard, but it just wasn’t, not by a long shot. But the upside is I now have another beer to add to my growing list of drinks to do a Redux Review on, because in my heart of hearts, I think something was up with this bottle.

Happens to the best of them.

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, 79 points. Price: $2.99 for one twelve ounce bottle.

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