Beer Review 0485: Stone Farking Wheaton W0̷0̷tstout Imperial Stout
Let it be said that Stone (Escondido, California) collaboration projects are never boring.
Earlier this year, Greg Koch, Stone co-founder, Wil Wheaton, actor and avid homebrewer, and Drew Curtis, creator of Fark.com teamed up to brew a gigantic Imperial Stout they named Stone Farking Wheaton W0̷0̷tstout.
The basis for the idea was cooked up by Koch, who desired a high-alcohol dark beer that would hold up to being stored in the cellar and enjoyed years from now. The detail of the ingredient list would come from Wheaton and Curtis.
Wheaton didn’t have to think hard about what ingredient he would add — wheat, of course — but wheat malt is hardly ever added to a beer such as this one. Even better. Curtis, a stranger to making beer, paid homage to his Kentucky heritage and brought rye and pecans. Take this beer one step further by aging 25% of it in bourbon barrels, and you’ve got something that not only raises eyebrows, but makes your mouth water.
Packaged in three bottles with distinctly different artwork, this beer is a limited release from Stone and comes in at 13% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 65 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). To much fanfare, it quickly sold out around the country, with most people picking up multiple bottles, some to enjoy now and some to sample much later. Let’s get a baseline taste on W0̷0̷tstout.
Release from the bottle produced a small, tan head that was creamy and diminished fast. The color is true Imperial Stout; dark black and completely opaque, with just a faint touch of lighter brown, cola-like edges when held to light. The body appeared clear and there were no sediment dregs in the bottom of the bottle; I noticed no particles or sediment in the beer. Lacing was good, providing a couple of waves of good, tan, thin suds.
The nose reveals a complex and delightful aroma, which is to be expected given the ingredient list on this brew. The initial immediate notes are of bourbon and vanilla but these are by no means the dominant scents — quite the opposite in fact, and they tend to fade into the background the longer you inhale. This beer opens up wide to reveal a big component of dark fruits, especially grapes and raisins, along with nice toasted notes of bread and plenty of dark chocolate. There are some subtle grapefruit hops which combine nicely with the dark fruits, and as the beer warms, I detected some sweet pecan pie. While there isn’t a big alcohol presence, the aroma is big and bossy, in a great way. It throws around its weight very well.
The best way I can describe the taste of W0̷0̷tstout is like this: it’s a chunky, beefy, beast of a beer with a lot of different components that remains compact. Make sense? Let me explain: a rush of flavor greets the tongue, issuing up toasted marshmallow, chocolate, toasted bread, and general roasted malts. Swirl around the mouth and you start to pick up on some hot bourbon and dark fruits. A mild yet forceful hit of alcohol clears the palate midway through the swallow, offering up a finish of dark, layered chocolate, bourbon, grapes, and almonds. The final notes are moderately sweet, but as you continue to drink, the bitterness builds up nicely, making it bittersweet. The 13% alcohol is here, but it never gets in the way. W0̷0̷tstout is full-bodied, with a thick, creamy mouthfeel.
Folks, this beer is dangerously drinkable. A certain amount of hype comes on this beer and I’d tell you to believe it. This collaboration is quite a feat, in my opinion; normally, when a beer of this ilk comes together with a few oddball ingredients, it can be cluttered. But these flavors play out on the tongue like a classic feature presentation. Damn the aging, I think this beer is ready to go now, so long as you can tolerate a bit of hot alcohol, which only serves to cleanse the palate for more flavor treats. Bravo! I’ll still age a bottle and report back.
Stone Farking Wheaton W0̷0̷tstout Imperial Stout, 96 points. Price: $9.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.