Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stone Brewing Company - Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

While I may not be extremely partial to Stone Brewing Company's year round releases, I definitely have a soft spot for their one-off beers. I've tried every collaboration they've released in the past few years and feel like they're only getting better. Some didn't particularly impress me (Green Tea IPA, Cherry Chocolate Stout), but the last few that they've come out (particularly More Brown Than Black and TBA) have been outstanding. Their newest beer isn't part of their collaboration series, but it's in the same vein, nonetheless. Bottleworks 13th Anniversary is a beer that the guys from Bottleworks (a popular craft beer store in Seattle) brewed with Stone at Stone's brewery to be released to commemorate their 13th year in business. It uses an incredible number of ingredients, including 13 types of hops (Bravo, Target, Columbus, Cascade, Delta, Warrior, Magnum, Apollo, Calypso, Perle, Galena, Chinook, Mt. Hood) and 13 grains (Pale Two Row, White Wheat, Aromatic, Weyermann Chocolate Rye, Light Munich, Brown Crisp, Oats, Crisp Light Crystal, CaraMunich, Baird's Chocolate, Lightly Peated, Simpsons Dark Crystal, Crisp Amber). That is a whole lot going on.

Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale pours a dark, dark brown color with a thin light brown head. On the nose, I picked up a ton of darker smells: roasted malt, some dark chocolate, rye, cola nut and some bread. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting all of the dark smells that this beer offered up.

If I had to describe the taste in one word, that word would have to be "busy." I guess that's not particularly surprising given the sheer number of ingredients used. I was a bit surprised to not pick up much of a hop presence at all, what with 13 hops being in this brew. Instead I picked up a huge malt sweetness with a ton of chocolate, caramel and rye. There was a bit of sticky citrus hop resin towards the finish, but it couldn't come close to balancing out all the heavy malt flavors. In the end, the sweetness coupled with a syrupy mouthfeel made this beer a bit wearing on the palate. I don't think this is one I'd go out of my way to recommend. Just a bit too much going on here for it to work.

Final Grade: C+

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 38

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