Aging Beers #12: Stone Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout At Three Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 12, 2018
The Story— Almost all breweries strike out at one time or another — especially if they’re inclined to take some risks. The big regional crafts must hold their collective breaths when they brew a good sized batch of a new style.
Stone doesn’t strike out often, but we called them out for their Master of Disguise when we tried it fresh three years ago. Besides, what the heck is a “Golden Stout?” Like a phoenix, however, it’s risen from the ashes of mediocrity after three years to become a fine sipping beer. When fresh it showed massive pale malts with the coffee and chocolate only playing roles of modest condiments. At three years they’ve moved up to a center stage role and made the beer far more complex and interesting.
The lesson for aging here is– if you don’t like an unusual style from a brewery you know brews well and consistently, try setting it down for a few years and see what happens. We put this aside because we didn’t want another bottle of it at the time and were richly rewarded.
The Beer— It shows its age with a minimal head, A big aroma sports lots of cocoa and some booze. Malt plays a subordinate role now, but that’s OK — conflicting flavors have agreed to share a bench nicely. It’s even more boozy though, and somewhat edgy, with a sharp alcohol-influenced metal. Grass and something close to sugar detract from the smoothness. Coffee, much of it sweet, is an odd dance partner, but enhances what’s left of the malt. E was swamped by the coffee, and booze, but the cocoa and the coffee continuing on roasted malt finally end in coffee grounds and the range of flavors cuts some of the alcoholic heat.
Value — Good. Especially now. If you have a store that offers a good range of the Stone beers, you’ll find several that are very fairly priced.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
In February, we’re digging into our legendary “vault” where we’ve been storing hundreds of bottles of beer waiting for the right time to taste them (or sell them for charity). The charity market has slowed, so we’re working through them in front of a fire and finding some disappointments, but more very surprising delights. You can find the full list –eventually– here on this “index post.”
We’re often asked to share our tasting notes on over 33,000 beers; this blog is in answer to those requests. Not all our notes, though. The great beer writer Michael Jackson admirably followed the Thumper Rule, and we’ll try to do the same. (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”) All the beers we post are from the top half of our ratings and most are from the top quarter. Of greater value, we think, are the stories behind the beers, and we try to give you enough about the brewery, the style and the places to find great beer to help you on your own beer journeys. At CulturAle Press we try to write books and publish posts that will help you “Drink Well and Travel Safely.”