Not So Professional Homebrews Meet the Stone Brewing Tasting Panel

Randy Clemens (left) and Mitch Steele with my
Not So Professional Homebrews
Last year, I profiled the book The Craft of Stone Brewing: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance. Around the same time, I made the switch from extract to all-grain brewing. Being a newbie, I had a few questions about the recipes, so I wrote to Randy Clemens, co-author and PR Manager at Stone Brewing Co.

Randy kindly answered my rookie questions and I brewed Stone Levitation Ale and Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Both turned out well, so I contacted Randy to tell him about my brews. Randy mentioned if I send him a few bottles, he'd give them to Mitch Steele, Stone Brewmaster, to sample. What an offer! As a homebrewer, I have a lot to learn and I value feedback from experienced brewers. It doesn't get much better than getting feedback from the Brewmaster!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my family took a impromptu week-long vacation to San Diego, so I made a visit to Stone Brewing in Escondido and hand delivered my homebrews to Mitch and Randy. Mitch served both of my brews to his tasting panel and here's his feedback:

"Sanjay: Your beers were excellent! We didn’t get any off-flavors at all.  The Levitation clone we thought was pretty close, perhaps a little fuller, and a little less bitter than ours, but a great tasting beer.

The 12th Anniversary BCOS was a fantastic brew. We’re not sure how ‘close' it was to ours, since it’s been 4 years since we’ve tasted a fresh one, but the cocoa and roast malt characters were definitely there."   Mitch Steele

Wow!  That's great to hear. I enjoyed my brews, but it's really gratifying to get feedback like this!  Here are the detailed tasting notes from the Stone Tasting Panel:

Homebrew tasting notes: 6/4/12


Bottle Inspection
-          Amber
-          Hazy
-          Tan/brown
-          Black
-          Hoppy
-          Grassy
-          Tea – like
-          Clean aroma
-          No hop
-          Floral
-          Apple/ alcohol
-          Light hops
-          Deep roast
-          Cocoa, Kahlua
-          Chocolate malt
-          Esters: chocolate
Flavor and Mouthfeel
-          Hoppy
-          Slightly grainy
-          Slight tart
-          Not as bitter
-          Really close
-          Not real hop bitterness
-          yeasty
-          Cocoa
-          Coffee
-          Nice flavor
-          A bit sweet
-          Malty
-          Boozy
-          Malty chocolate
-          Slick feel

Brewing and drinking these beers was a lot of fun. Having them sampled by Stone and getting feedback from the crew that makes the beer was an incredibly special treat!  A huge thanks to Randy, Mitch, and the Stone Tasting Panel for their time and feedback! This homebrewer can't wait to brew the 16 other recipes in the book!

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