Two new interesting or otherwise anticipated new beers from Stone Brewing are being released in Oregon this week–Enjoy by 12.26.14 IPA and the latest Stochasticity Project beer, Master of Disguise Golden Stout. You probably don’t need me to tell you about Stone’s rather genius “Enjoy By” series, which encourages drinking this terrific IPA while its fresh. On the other hand, you may or may not have heard about the mini trend of Blonde, White, or Golden Stouts. The style is so unestablished it does not yet have a standardized name, and like Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA, this may be Stone’s attempt to own and officially title this style.
As usual, with much hyperbole Stone announced Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise this week as a “a mind- and palate-defying experience that may change some of your preconceived notions about beer.” The brewery also pretty much takes credit for creating this style, though many might be familiar with Cascade Brewing’s Oblique Black & White Coffee Blonde Stout or Lompoc’s Blonde Stout and countless others brewed across the country. Like Stone Brewing’s version, many of these beers use coffee and/or chocolate to really pronounce the flavor to color difference. So far “Blonde” or “White” stout seem to be the leading terms; the pessimist in me thinks Stone is trying to change the language to “Golden Stout” because the brewery is applying for a trademark on it and can claim to have brewed the first.
Both 12.26.14 and the new Master of Disguise Golden Stout are big imperial beers, the Enjoy By at 9.4% ABV and with a shelf life of just 35 days, which is when Stone insists bottles and kegs be pulled from stores and bars. The Master of Disguise, on the other hand, is 9.7% ABV and is said to be cellarable.
There is a lot more to be said about the Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise, so I will leave Stone’s press release to do the rest of the talking:
The inspiration for this beer was twofold: First, after brewing Stone 11th Anniversary Ale (a black IPA now known as Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA) in 2007, it was joked that Stone should brew a golden stout. Then, on April Fool’s Day 2010, Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch and BrewDog Co-founder James Watt teased fans with a fictional, oxymoronic collaboration beer that was pale in color but had all the classic flavors of an imperial stout, calling it BrewDog/Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Stout. Having tucked away the concept for that far-fetched beer, Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele finally decided to make it a reality by developing a pilot batch recipe featuring ingredients that contributed roasty flavors and a pale color.
“To achieve the qualities of a stout, we relied on our prior experience brewing with coffee to pull flavors from the beans without affecting the hue of the beer,” explains Steele. “As the beer warms and opens up, the chocolate adds another level of complexity and helps build the traditional flavors typically associated with dark beers. It’s been really fun to see a prank with questionable viability become a reality.”
To give the beer the silky-smooth mouthfeel that is often associated with stouts, flaked oats were added to the grain bill along with Carapils, English amber and pale malts, which lent the beer a golden-colored hue. Sheets of cocoa from ChocoVivo were added in the whirlpool along with Ryan Bros Coffee, with an additional small amount of coffee added post-fermentation to replicate the typical deep, roasty, chocolaty character found in stouts. Giving off a mild spice flavor and strong bitterness, both Liberty and Nugget hops offer a perfect balance to the overall robust malt flavors. Upon first sip, fans will savor all the rich complexity of a stout presented in the unexpected form of a brilliant golden ale.
Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise is ready to be enjoyed now or may be properly cellared for several months or even years. Over time, the malt qualities will evolve and give way to richer cocoa and coffee flavors. Regardless of when the beer is enjoyed, fans will learn to not judge beer by its color… at least not this one.