Arrogant Bastard Ale

Total Score: 8.3/10 DarkFruits1Wood1BrownSugar1Tulipglass1

I thought I did this one already… turns out it was the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, easy mistake to make as in my memory the labels looked EXACTLY THE SAME [actually there is a slight difference in them]. So here we are Arrogant Bastard! What? No I wasn’t insulting you, that’s the name of the beer… jeez, Arrogant Bastards. That was insulting you, see the difference? No, well maybe I was insulting you then. As far as American Strong Ales go this is the most popular on a little site I go to called Beer Advocate – 10,712 ratings so for, here comes #10,713! Will it be as great as Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard? Only minutes will tell, around 30 to be precise.

Poured from a 473ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: This beer is truly arrogant from the get-go: exploding right out of the can and into my sink, jeez Arrogant Bastard. Colour is a deep tawny brown, cloudy or hazed? Hard to tell, I’m gonna say hazed, with a sand-coloured head that simmers down after the initial explosion leaving a nice thin blanket, and lace. 8/10.

S: Boozy from the off, with a mix of dark fruits (prune, plum, dates) and a freight train full of molasses – this thing is as unstoppable as a train with Jon Voight riding on it. Aroma comes across with a decent amount of sugar but not a truckload, it’s not Founders Curmudgeon in that respect (my dentist BANNED me from drinking that beer when I told him a piece of my tooth broke off while I was sipping it). Pretty balanced aroma based on several scientific whiffs. 9/10.

T: Booze, booze, booze. Dark fruits (prune, plum, dates) and molasses. Much like BBAAB (as in the other Arrogant Bastard) there are woody notes throughout. Sweet mid palate, but not overbearing, bit better balanced than Curmudgeon in that respect – Curmudgeon is a bit “all aboard sugar train heading for candy mountain!”. Finish is long dry, with a medium herbal hop bitterness. Overall flavour is tasty, the booze isn’t crazy in your face, and there’s plenty going on. 8/10.

M: Definitely no Curmudgeon when it comes to mouthfeel – medium bodied with a slight creamy carbonation – had better, had worse. 7/10.

D: Yes I know Founders Curmudgeon is a different style beer but it’s the beer that most springs to mind as I sip this… I miss my Curmudgeon days (which are paradoxically behind me). I feel after drinking half a glass that the hops are a tad aggressive now (I found that in BBAAB too). Still decent though. 9/10.

Food match: “Runaway train never going back, pastrami salad is a beautiful snack”.

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Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard

Total Score: 8.15/10 Wood1Caramel1Coriander1Tulipglass1

With another milestone review looming on the horizon (#650) I’ve got some fantastic brews awaiting patient wordsmithing from the good Doctor with number 650 being an extra special [hint: think of the most highly rated beer in the world] drop… the excitement in these quarters is palatable. Then I will be taking a sabbatical from reviews for a while (even though I am unaware of the concept of a sabbatical). Anyway let’s not diminish the significance of this review: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, a modern classic, and perhaps my first Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer – this is going to be a treat!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy russet/coppery body with a nice dense khaki blanket on top – dreams are made of brews that look this tasty, my dreams, yes I dream of tasty beers – what do you dream of? Piles of money on a bed with semi-naked models laying in it? Yeah that’s a pretty nice dream, I’ll trade you for it. 9/10.

S: Rich caramel malts, and dare I say Bourbon? [Yes, yes I dare say]. With hints of vanilla, woody tones and fruit cake characters… sounds like a party I can get down with, bring it on you Arrogant Bastard! 9/10.

T: Woody/char notes upfront give way to a slight alcohol touch, then vanilla/caramel/fruit cake follows obediently. Tasty drop this. Finish as a woody/herbal bitter note. There’s more wood in this brew than a lumberjacks wet dream… too much wood? No? Was the lumberjack analogy too much? OK I will dispense with the tasteless jokes from… NOW. Overall balance leans a bit towards a bitter finish, I suspect aging would bring out a bit more sweetness (the bottle date of this being 25/07/15). 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with hop oils present and a light but dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Too much hop bitterness in this one, but again this beer was crafted to be cellared and hop characters tend to pare back with a good old fashioned cellaring, too bad I’m an impatient bastard… hmmm, maybe I should brew and release a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Impatient Bastard for those of us who can’t wait for a beer to age? Who’s in for that idea? Overall though BBAAB never strays far from being tasty despite the hops. 5/7: Would taste again. Seriously though D = 8/10.

Food match: Bourbon Barrel-Aged beef with smoked trout potato salad and something else smoked… ham or something – smoked meat platter – done.

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