I bought a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale along with the Redhook Big Ballard IPA I reviewed here recently. I thought the strong ales could be compared back-to-back, and I would take a second look at my Steemit review from last month. My opinion hasn't really changed, so I will copy it here.
Arrogant Bastard Ale
This beer insults you before you even buy it. "You're not worthy," says the can or bottle immediately beneath the sneer of a demonic mascot and a provocative title. But the label continues with this blurb:
This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory—maybe something with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multimillion-dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.
In fact, in small print at the bottom of the back label, it even says,
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? If you don't like this beer, keep it to yourself—we don't want to hear from any sniveling yellow-beer-drinkin' wimps, 'cause this beer wasn't made for you!
Well, it's plain that Arrogant Bastard Ale intends to live up to its name.
So, what is it like?
It's brewed and bottled in Escondido, California by Stone Brewing Company. It's listed on BeerAdvocate as an "American Strong Ale." It's 7.2% ABV.
Cracking the crown cap off the bottle releases a strong beery-malty scent. Taste is slightly sweet up front with a very bitter aftertaste, and lots of aggressive flavors in the malt and hops. While I can't find bitterness info, it's definitely up there with properly bitter IPAs. The mouthfeel isn't watery or over-carbonated.
All told, I like this beer. I don't like bitterness for the sake of bitterness, but this seems well-balanced despite its attitude. I wouldn't recommend it to a novice, though. It's a bit like a combination of Guinness and a strong IPA, for lack of a better comparison. Give it a try of you're looking for something different. Of course, you'd better make sure you're not a wuss first.
Compared to the recent Imperial IPA, the hops flavor isn't as dominant, but it is definitely there. I should also note that subjectively, despite the lower ABV, it feels like this bottle packs more of a punch than the other despite the lower ABV. Both are 22 oz (650 ml) capacity, so neither will result in a drunken stupor by any means, but I do lean a little toward the lightweight side of the drinking spectrum. This is NOT a beer for those who favor weak lagers. Give it a try when you're ready to move up.
Now I need to see if I can find Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout to try again. It's been ages since I had that last.