Total Score: 7.75/10
It’s another year and it’s time for another of Stone & Wood’s signature beer, their wood-fired stone beer, in which they take a stone that’s been sitting in a fire for a while and chuck it in the wort to give it a nice earthy/smoky flavour. I’ve tried 2013, 2016 and 2017, and they keep getting better so here’s an image of me rubbing my hands together in anticipation: [image not found]. Interestingly every year up until now has been an Altbier, a type of German Brown Ale, but this year they’ve up’d the ABV to 7.5% and made it a Porter. Hmmmm… my theory is the earthy/smoky flavours will come through even more and make it EVEN TASTIER, but you never know until you try. *cracks open bottle*
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Deep and opaque, almost black, dark chocolate-coloured body with a chunky tan head that drops back quickly (as it is want to do at 7.5% ABV) leaving a sea of bubbles. Looks luxurious and sexy like a film noir femme fatale. 9/10.
S: Bacon smokiness and earthy stone character mingle in this sultry brew. As I expected the change in style has amplified the effect of dropping a red-hot volcanic stone into a wort… it’s hopefully been wort-while [sorry, couldn’t help myself]. The only negatives are also positives IMO: the smoky/earthy/stoney character overrides the rest of the beer, who cares – I say “bring on the bacon!”. 8/10.
T: Yep, it’s essentially a Smoked Porter (think Feral/Blackman’s). Flavour profile is good: smoky bacon, earthy stone character, brown sugar/malt sweetness, firm coffee bitterness in the finish. It’s good, but I feel that the stone flavours have been amped up a bit too much from the previous Altbier styles, and there is less sweetness than previous offerings and more bitterness. The balance is more out-of-whack compared to the previous Stone Beers. It’s still a tasty drop though, there’s no denying that fact. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied, thinner than expected, with a flat but dense carbonation. Clearly not as nice as previous Stone Beers (needs more body) here. 7/10.
D: A good Stone Beer, nonetheless the balance is out: skewed too far towards a smoky/bitter flavour, I mean it’s not exactly Schlenkerla Urbock smoky, but then that beer has a great deal of sweetness to underpin that smoke onslaught. QED: smoky/bitter flavours magnify each other and make for a not great beer drinking experience. Bring back their years perfected Altbier I say. 7/10.
Food match: Ardbeg or Lagavulin chaser? Otherwise a rich beef stew is the ticket.