Stone Brewing Company Crime (2015) – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 9.6% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Crime (2015) Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 9.6% ABV (US$17.00 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 17-Jan-2018)

Appearance: murky medium to deep amber with one fat finger of dense light tan head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel/toffee, chilli, pine, tobacco, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet & peppery spice, strong bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter spicy and boozy finish. (4/5)

I wasn’t really clear what “Crime” referred to (hadn’t even thought about it, actually) until I opened this and smelled it. Then I realized that it was Arrogant Bastard, but with a twist, making the nature of the crime obvious: they adulterated Arrogant Bastard. Only then did I read the bottle notes, which confirmed that. (It’s a blend of Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, and Oaked Arrogant Bastard, aged in bourbon barrels, with peppers added.) I’m on the fence as to the effect of two years’ ageing: the base beer(s) don’t have an emphatic hop character to start with (at least not on the nose) and I’m not convinced the pepper burn is going fade completely no matter how long you age. So, we’re left with perhaps slightly less aroma of peppers? In any case, the trifecta of booze, bitter, and spice might well make this a problem beer for some folks. I, on the other hand, as an inveterate boozer, major hop head, and hot sauce junkie, am pretty much in my element. The down side is the same as that of the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, for exactly the same reason and magnified by the chilli presence: the bourbon barrel and peppers completely blow out the more subtle flavours of Arrogant Bastard. (Yes, it does so have subtle flavours!) I’m getting little citrus, and no vanilla or rye. Doesn’t render this undrinkable, by any means, and if it were cheaper and more readily available, it could easily be a go-to for me. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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