Yet another bottle label that stinks of arrogance.  Hey, Stone we get it.  You are a bunch of arrogant bastards that make great beer and you hate mediocre swill.  We’ve all heard you’re platform and understand, so how about you move on and find some new material.   There, my rant is over.

I must admit, I do appreciate Stone’s humorous jab at the recent Black IPA fad in the naming of this beer.  It fits their mantra and considering their line up of beer they can hold their weight.  An intense hopping of some vibrant and resinous hops was followed by a dry hopping of some New Zealand varieties to impart a unique and bold aroma.   Judging by the bottle I honestly figured it would be close their  Self RighteousSmoked Porter or Imperial Stout respectively.  I really enjoyed both of these beers so my hopes were high.

What poured a very think, greasy, oily, opaque color beer was capped by a very deep mocha/chocolate ice cream head which was dense and laced.  The hop profile was huge.  Blasts of piney, citrus, resinous hops overpowered the dark roasted burnt malts with ease.  Among all the aromas there was an interesting since of white wine in the mix.  Pepper, coffee, dark chocolate, fennel, and hot alcohol notes added to the nose.  This beer definitively establishes its dominance on the style quickly (not to mention my palate).  Come to think of it the booziness of this beer is actually quite harsh

Before I even tasted the beer I noticed the mouthfeel.  Sticky, yet slick like an oil spill (too soon) it seemed to fit the style, but ended up being a turn off.  This is a perfect example of how the extreme malt characters and huge hop profile do not really mesh well.  They fight each other and your mouth is the innocent bystander caught in the middle.  I really enjoyed the hop flavor in this beer.  More citrus in nature than other Black IPAs I’ve had.  However, this beer seemed big for big sake…because it had to.  It was over the top, brazen, and lacked finesse.  The abv was not hidden and stung the nostrils and throat at the finish not allowing me to fully savor and appreciate the ingredients.  The end result:  I enjoyed picking out the hop aromas and flavors.