So...finally have these things going...hopefully I'm using them correctly
Bomber of the Week: Master of Disguise by Stone Brewing Co
January 26, 2015
One of the recent trends in brewing has been the inclusion of coffee in darker beers that tend to compliment the more acidic qualities of dark roasted coffee. The results are often mixed with a certain percentage being flat out disappointing. In contrast, a select few breweries have been have been able to make truly unique and amazing beer and in so doing display a brewing skill set and knowledge that is a cut above the rest of the industry. Given my previous encounters with the offerings of Stone Brewing, I know them to be among these highly skilled pinnacles of beer, so my interest was naturally peaked when they decided to flex their brew-knowledge. As part of their ambitious Stochasticity Project, Stone has made not just a coffee infused beer, but also raised the bar by doing so with an imperial golden stout featuring a few extra bells and whistles.
On pouring the Master of Disguise the multifaceted colors and aromas immediately take hold. The color, a vibrant gold with tinges of red and the lingering head give the appearance of a beer that is lighter and more akin to the famous pale ales from Stone than their stouts. Any notions of this being a light and/or hoppy affair dissipate with the distinct smell of coffee beans and malt that hint at this beers true nature. The first sip of Master of Disguise gives way to a deep and complex array of flavors. The oats with which it is brewed give a heavy mouth feel (get your mind out of the gutter and let mine float by with that one buddy) not unlike what you would expect from a well-balanced oatmeal stout. The combination of cocoa and coffee complement each other well and has a surprisingly spicy effect towards the back of the pallet. These flavors are certainly at the forefront of the beer but they are also not overpowering, allowing the sweeter notes of the malt to come through. At its end, Master of Disguise leaves a slightly acidic aftertaste that is unquestionably from the coffee beans that is not unlike what you would experience from a shot of good espresso.
I look forward to seeing the other creations that come from the Stochasticity Project in the near future and in the mean time I will be stocking up on this current offering. For anyone looking for a good example of how a difficult ingredient like coffee is implemented to perfection I strongly recommend getting your hands on a bomber or two of Master of Disguise while you can.