Grainiac is another experiment from Stone’s Stochasticity Project line, and this time it’s a hopped-up malt bomb. The head is massive and silky and hangs around like you would expect from a root beer float. The nose has toast and granola and just a hint of lemon. The middle is full of sweet grain, and bitter hops. There’s sweet orange notes bitter pine, and a strong whole-wheat breadiness. More like dough than baked bread in flavor. The finish is sugary with a tiny herbal bitter bite right at the very end. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a fairly stout 8.5% ABV. The grains in this beer (barley, wheat, rye, triticale, millet and buckwheat) make it interesting, but Stone makes it special.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
From Stone’s Stochasticity Project, HiFi+LoFi Mixtape is a blend of fresh strong ale with ale that’s been aged for three months in oak. According to Stone, this was a common practice when fresh stock ale was smoky and bitter, it would be mixed with ale that had aged and mellowed to make it more drinkable. I don’t know about the old stuff, but Stone’s version is definitely drinkable. The nosy is slightly yeasty with lemon, and maybe just a tiny hint of oak. The middle is deliciously full of flavor ranging from sweet apple to creamy butter, and bitter pine. The finish is bready and slightly sweet. The body is medium and the alcohol is stiff-ish, at 8.8% ABV. I love barrel aged ales, and this is no exception.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
Fans of Monty Python will recognize the source of this Medieval-style ale, brewed with, of course, elderberries. A word to the wise; Medieval beer is different. Very different from modern beer. I happen to be a fan, most, I think, are not. Hoppiness is very subdued (on non-existant) and in its place are all sorts of weird herbs and spices and flavors you might not generally associate with beer. Here, the nose isn’t terribly intense, but it does have light notes of bread, molassas, and smoked peat. The middle is spicy, with strong peppery heat and bitter herbs. There’s a sweetness at the end of the middle, where you can really taste the berries (elderberries, I presume, though never having had them on their own, I can’t swear it) and a dry, bitter bite at the finish. The pepper lingers all the way through. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a robust 10.3% ABV. It’s a strong ale, but I wouldn’t really call it an American Strong Ale, as there’s nothing in it that suggests it was fomulated after beer (hopped, by this time) made its way to these North American shores. In my opinion, this is a lovely formulation, and well executed. A fine brew.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.