Category Archives: Altbier

Stone & Wood 2016 Stone Beer

Rating:

13346763_526942297489920_6697504367293081971_n“Long before the wizardry of steam was invented, brewers used stone and wood to brew their daily beer. As a tribute to this ancient technique, we add wood fired stones to the kettle to rouse the boil, intensifying the malt characters of this seasonal brew. Using a selection of seven malts, the 2016 stone beer is a dark ale with a roasted cocoa aroma, this full bodied winter warmer is balanced with caramel sweetness, finishing dry.”

Served in a sniffer glass. The pour is very stout-like – pitch black with a stubborn two finger head that holds up well but eventually settles to a thin overlay that leaves some healthy decals as it ebbs. Lots of beautiful roasted aromas gushing out. Moreish wafts of chocolate, espresso, cocoa, roasted nuts, caramel, molasses, licorice and a hint of smoke has us completely reeling! Geez, you can’t ask for much more, this is simply brilliant. In the mouth it’s full and creamy with a subtle dryness developing toward the back end. The 6.5% ABV has been suppressed well as this super smooth dark ale just glides over the tongue. The flavour follows on from the aroma superbly – big, roasted and decadent notes of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts, ovaltine and a suggestion of smoke transition through the mid. A gentle alcohol warmth slides in and carries it all in to a dry, roasty finish with decent duration on the rear palate. We’ve been religiously reviewing Stone & Wood’s annual L/R Stone beer since 2013 and we must say each year it gets better. This would have to be the best beer we’ve ever had from this brewery, it’s packed full of dark malts, coffee and chocolate and perfectly balanced by a gentle hop bitterness. A bottle of this, a big roaring fire and a big steak. Heaven!

Stone & Wood 2015 Stone beer

Rating:

image“Long before the wizardry of steam was invented, brewers used stone and wood to brew their daily beer. As a tribute to this ancient technique, we add wood fired stones to the kettle to rouse the boil and intensify the malt characters of this seasonal brew. Serving up a platter of dark fruits and toasted nuts, the 2015 stone beer earthy, rich and balanced. The sumptuous complexity is driven by the use of 11 different malt types including Vienna, Choc, Wheat and caramelised malts along with Hallertau Hersbrücker hops, this traditional European ale has a sweet caramel flavour that finishes with a dry roasted bitterness”.

Served in a shaker glass. The dark cola pour reveals subtle crimson hues when held against the light. Crowning it off is a tanned head that swells to about two fingers in height before reducing to a wispy layer over the top. Some wet, streaky lacing is released as it ebbs. Quite complex on the nose actually. It’s almost like a dark ale, a porter and a stout has been blended with a robust dark roast tantalising the olfactory initially. We also get a firm earthy nuttiness, figs, chocolate, caramel and a hint of coffee bitterness to fill it out. Pretty good. In the mouth it’s dense and viscous but with a surprisingly silky texture. Co2 is expectedly minimal with the 6.4% ABV being very well hidden. Kind of slides down with ease. The palate is just as complex with an earthy roasted malt tasted on entry. Plenty of nutty sweetness develops as a hint of either peat or charred wood is detected through the mid. A suggestion of caramel leads on to slightly bitter coffee in the finish. Wow, the brewers have separated the flavours in this beer really well, none of them overlap or get muddled, they just seem to roll easily in to one another perfectly. Another year, another delicious stone beer from these Byron Bay brewers.

Stone & wood ‘Stone Beer’ 2014 limited release

Rating:

imageWe still aren’t sure what style of brew this is. Most categorise this as a ‘stone beer’ because of the brewing process which is used, but to us it’s somewhere between a dark and a brown ale. Whatever you choose this limited release looks a treat.

Served in a tulip glass the mat black pour produced a 1 inch brown head that slowly dissipated to a rim of foam around the edge of the glass. Laced quite well considering the slowly diminishing head. Aroma is so similar to the Lord Nelsons ‘old admiral’. Beautifully caramelised with roasted coffee bean, chocolate and malt dominating the nose. Undertones of booze, cocoa and burnt wood work wonderfully together to create good depth. Mouthfeel was mineraly with mild-medium carbonation. Medium bodied. The palate displays a gorgeous array of roasted flavours with coffee and chocolate taking the front seat. A spicy addition of hops delivers an earthy finish with hints of caramelised malt and espresso. Great length. These limited release ‘stone beers’ are a huge boost to this breweries already stellar reputation, once again we’re already looking forward to next year’s offering.

Stone & wood 2013 stone beer

Rating:

Stone & wood stone beerImpressive story behind the ‘stone’ in the stone beer which where the name derives, the brewers rewind back to the days before electricity and heat the stones up in a wood fire before throwing them in the tanks to boil the water. In effect, caramelizing the wort to produce a more rich malt and toffee aromas and flavours. Although a primitive style of brewing it’s a very avante garde approach to modern brewing.

Served in a beer tulip it’s pouring an impenetrable dark brown with an edge of ruby red when held against the light. A good finger and a half of tan head shrinks down and settles to a fine layer over the top. Laced reasonably well. The aroma is quite muted, but at the same time quite complex. The stand outs are roasted malts, spice and toffee with caramelized undertones of nuts & burnt sugar. Fore flavours of toasted malts, caramel & toffee come forward while hints of treacle, chocolate and a hint of warming booze (7.2% ABV) in the mid finishes with bitter, roasted notes. Length is OK. Wow, what an interesting release. As a beer enthusiast, if you are only used to the standard jasper and pacific ales then get out while you can and find one of these. It has totally renewed our respect of this brewery. It does not disappoint.

Dieu di ciel ‘rescousse’ German style red ale

Rating:

Dieu di ciel rescousse German style red ale“The Rescue is a sleek Altbier that celebrates life in all its diversity. On the palate, malted attack mingles with aromas of toast, leaving a final hop that bites the tongue and gives this red ale with mahogany highlights its freshness, its complexity and uniqueness. Good Lord! pays 11 cents per bottle sold to the Foundation of the Quebec wildlife to come to the rescue of endangered species such as wolverines, copper redhorse and chorus frog … Liberty, equality, biodiversity! Get out of indifference, make your difference.” 

There isn’t a bad beer these guys brew. They would easily be in our top 10 best breweries in the world and although we mention it a lot, the artwork these guys offer on their labels are second to none. Served in a beer tulip the deep copper red pour produced a thin fizzy head which retains well, releasing some webbed lace trails down the walls of the glass. Off the nose we’re picking up a delicate malt driven aroma with earthy hints of caramel, toasted sourdough, dark fruits, nutty malts and spice. Medium carbonation with a soft, rounded mouth feel. The true dieu di ciel characteristic of dark malts and nutty caramel/maple syrupy flavours marry up beautifully with the chewy dough and subtle spice to bring an absolute pearler of a beer together. Good length. 5.3% ABV plays a subtle role in the make up of the body, adding a full flavoured taste. Again, big ups to this world class brewery. Tasty beer.