Jul 26, 2012

Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

To celebrate their thirteenth year in business, Seattle’s Bottlworks (one of the more well known beer shops on the West Coast) commissioned Stone Brewing to craft a beer worthy of the occasion. The result is not only a beer that packs in 13 malts (Pale 2-R, White Wheat, Aromatic, Weyermann Chocolate Rye, Light Munich, Brown Crisp, Oats, Crisp Light Crystal, Caramunich, Baird’s Chocolate, Lightly Peated, Simpsons Dark Crystal, Crisp Amber) and 13 hop varieties (Bravo, Target, Columbus, Cascade, Delta, Warrior, Magnum, Apollo, Calypso, Perle, Galena, Chinook, Mt. Hood ), but is also one of Stone’s better non-IPA beers I’ve had so far.

At 11% ABV, this American Strong Ale isn’t for the timid. It’s got layers of flavor that only seem to become deepen as the beer warms in the glass through the drinking experience. It’s also a beer that I would venture will cellar nicely for a good long while — I plan on buying more of it to do just that.


This brew pours dark, dark brown with a mahogany edge as the mocha head fell stubbornly slow leaving a clinging lace on the inside of the glass.


Chocolate, light espresso notes, roast malt, orange peel and a light pine come together in a fairly robust aroma that also carries a touch of alcohol.


I would say that the slightly smokey, espresso and chocolate character of the 13 grains utilized in the beer’s recipe carry it as the 13 hop varieties offer up a balanced blend of subtle citrus and pine notes. There’s also a moderate amount of lingering hop bitterness in the semi-dry and warming finish. The beer has a fairly smooth mouthfeel and despite it’s higher level, the alcohol is masked quite well.


There’s a good amount of complexity within this beer’s depths, but it’s not so much that it leaves your palate confused — everything seems to mesh quite well and results in a fairly balanced brew. The amount of malts/hops that went into this beer remind me of Bells Batch 10,000 in a way, but not in the sheer number of adjuncts used. Each sip brings a little something different to the taste buds so you never really get too comfortable with one flavor over the other. Impressive beer.


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