I had no desire to drive out to Joliet this weekend so I resolved myself to shop locally for worthy beer for review. One such beer caught my eye and I gave the label a bit of scrutiny. The beer was from Stone Brewing and was Matt’s Burning Rosids. It was an Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison.
Smoked. Hmm. I’ve had a few smoked beers that were terrible and some where I couldn’t tell they was smoked at all. This was a gamble I was willing to take. I took the long shot and picked up two bombers with the hope that any smokiness would take a backseat to the overall flavor.
The Matt in question was Matt Courtright who worked at Stone Brewing until a forklift accident took his life. He died doing what he loved. Stone brewed this beer in his memory. Kudos to Stone, one of the 10 largest breweries in the country.
What the hell are rosids? These are rosids.
Here we have another example of how brewers pay no regard to official beer style guidelines and use some creativity and experience like world renown chefs who create something new and different.
The beer is an imperial saison. No such style exists. Brewers are pushing the envelope while Bud, Miller and Coors are calling for doomsday. Not only an imperial saison, but a cherrywood smoked imperial saison. Stone is leaps and bounds above beechwood aging.
The term smoked gave me pause. When you place imperial next to saison, you have my undivided attention. My imagination starts to stir. Throw in smoked and I raise an eyebrow. Nothing good can come from this.
Gambling on Stone’s reputation, I decided to take the gamble and hope that the imperial part overruled the smoked part.
Another question evolved: Stone’s recommended serving temperature. Would the beer taste better after it warmed up a bit? I’ll try to look into that as during the session.
Let’s get’s get started.
The liquid contents poured with an orange-yellow color and brought up a one-inch head of pure white. The glass was translucent but I could see carbonation happening all over the inside. The aroma was of a sweet nectary drink.
The body was medium and the flavor was slightly sweet and at first reminded me of pencil shavings, then a slight smokey taste came forward. These two flavors combined made it a bit odd for my taste buds.
At the very beginning of eat sip, there was a nice, light, sweet flavor just like a great saison beer. But the transfer of the liquid to the back for swallowing brings out the smokey characteristic. It’s like falling out of bed during a lucid dream. It’s over in a flash.
Over the course of a few sips and warming, the smoke flavor dimmed down a bit, but it was still there. I brought the half full/half empty bomber out of the fridge to warm up the contents while I finished the first glassful. It’s suggested to drink the beer at 55 degrees.
Some people who have reviewed this beer have revealed themselves to me to be chock full of horse puckey. ”Taste is sweet malts, rose pedals, honey, clove and a sweet roasty wood chips. Slight tartiness and light bitter finish which is well balanced.” I get none of that except the sweet and the smoke. 6 of one, half-dozen of the other. Some people have said that they can taste cherries in the beer. How does anyone get a cherry flavor from burnt wood? Oh yeah… it’s cherry wood. What if it was cottonwood? How about pussy willow?
The last glassful warmed up quite a bit and the smoky flavor was subdued, but still there. There was no redemption. Warm or cold, I still didn’t care for it that much. I still finished the bomber. After all… it’s still beer.
There is no pleasure for me in this beer. It’s a mullet beer. Business in front and a fire in back.
I’m not a big fan of smoked beers, period. (I can still recall reviewing O’Fallon Smoke and hating it.) I can take tartness up to a point. I like the sweet introduction of each sip but the swallow is just not for me. I’ve said before that I am no expert beer tasting guru of any sort. I just know what I like.
if you spot this beer on one of the shelves at the bottle shop and you have a tolerance for smoked beers, grab one and try it out. You’ll probably like it. Sorry, Matt. This beer is just not for me.
I’ll finish this bomber and contemplate about uncapping the other one. I scored two bottles of Zombie Dust and they’re jumping up and down in the fridge right now. I can hear them clinking over here.
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Taste: Odd. Odd and smokey.
Smoothness: Easy to drink, hard to swallow.
Drinkability: Let it warm up and try again.
Bang for the buck: Dollars for experience. A lesson learned.
Amount paid: $7.99 per 22-ounce bottle.
Get it again? Nope.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff )I don’t smell cherry. Maybe it’s the smoke. (sip) Kinda… nothing. There’s really nothing much. (She’s better off than me.)