Posted 12 months ago | Beer, Reviews

Stone Brewing Stygian Descent

Rating:

Stygian Descent was first created back in 2013 when Stone Brewing took their Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA and aged it in rye whiskey barrels. In 2016, the brewery upped the ante a bit with the barrels employed in this big beer’s maturation. This time around the base brew rested for five months in Templeton Rye Whiskey Barrels, as well as Kentucky bourbon barrels (which brand, I do not know). All I know is that while the company’s black IPA has changed a bit through the years, it’s always been hop-forward and the barrel influence here only improves upon it.

The aroma on Stygian Descent is wonderfully decadent as those rye whiskey traits waft from the surface of the appropriately named black brew. Bourbon, whiskey and old wood dominate the nose while soft pine and citrus linger in the background. And while that aroma is damn impressive, the flavor, however fails to match expectations. Yes, Stygian Descent is a tasty beer, but when comparing the flavor to the smell of this beer, it’s no comparison.

The roastiness of the base black IPA is much stronger than expected here. I had hoped that it would have mellowed a touch during its time in the barrels, but nope. The rye and bourbon are present, but they step into the shadows, allowing the roast and solid amount of hoppy pine to take over the spotlight as an equal measure of bitterness and sweetness battle one another on the way to the warming finish.

Stygian Descent is a uniquely flavored beer. I was expecting more barrel than that which I found. The hop profile is incredibly strong here, but I suppose that’s to be expected from Stone as well as the shorter time the beer spent in the wood in comparison to other barrel-aged products. The encounter was unexpected to be sure, but this big beer is still darn tasty and something I wouldn’t mind taking on again in the future.

Appearance

A dense and creamy cap of light brown foam falls slowly to patch surface cover. I wouldn't say that this brew looks stygian in color unless the River Styx looks more like the Potomac River — murky and unsettling.

Tags: , , ,

You May Also Like

Beer Review

Old Bust Head Barrel Aged Gold Cup

Old Bust Head’s Gold Cup is a solid Russian imperial stout, providing a softly robust character with good flavor. The brewery’s chocolate […]

Read Review

Beer Review

Wyndridge Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

I picked up this bottle of Wyndridge Farm’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout a few weeks back on a trip to Total […]

Read Review

Beer Review

Ballast Point High West Victory at Sea

Ballast Point has been under Constellation Brand ownership for just over two years now. It wasn’t a conscious effort on my part, […]

Read Review

Beer Review

Solace Manhunt Stout

Manhunt, a 7% ABV imperial stout from Solace Brewing, is my first introduction to the northern Virginia company. I’m sure you all […]

Read Review