OK, let’s start with a bit of History. Back in 1997, long before I was drinking, Greg Koch brought the flagship of Stone Brewery forth as Arrogant Bastard Ale. For the 13th Anniversary of that milestone, Mr. Koch once again floored the craft beer world with Lukcy Basartd, a slightly higher gravity version of Arrogant Bastard that is released annually. For 2013, 3 versions of Lukcy Basartd were released, ‘Southern Charred’, ‘Crime’ and ‘Punishment’
Packaging: Typical Stone. Loud and Confident, but strangely refined. This particular brew features a cork, like many Belgian offerings. The cork features the signature gargoyle head on the top as well as the words ‘You Are Not Worthy’ around the body of the cork.
Pour: Very light on head. Poured beautifully into one of my Stone glasses.
Appearance: Crime has a very thick appearance, almost like molasses with a similar coloration. There is a good deal of particulate suspended in the beer that based on the spice I can only assume is mostly pepper seeds.
Nose: There is very little citrus or floral. Honestly, the predominant notes are of peppers, peppers and more peppers.
The First Sip: Obviously peppers bombard your palate, but there’s an intriguing depth and several notes that don’t develop until several sips have scorched your lips and tongue….and it will scorch!
Overall Flavor: Much like the Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination IPA, the beauty lies in this beer after a few sips. Just as the insane volume of hops in the 10th Anniversary Ruination bombard the palate, the peppers in Crime block everything else out at first. Also very much like 10th Anniversary Ruination, once you work your way past the initial blast, you’re in for an incredible treat.
Now, I’m a hophead, I can drink Ruination like it’s a normal beer and I can drink most other IPAs like they’re water. Crime is not the beer for big gulps. I’m not sure if the term has been coined yet, but Crime is a true ‘Sippin’ Beer’
As your palate recovers from the pepper, the next dominant flavor is a deep molasses/caramel flavor from the Bourbon Barrels. Hops start to weasel their war in about 1/3 through along with some other earthy tones that I’m sure others can identify, but I’m not sure how with all the pepper on top. Crime lingers, on your lips, on your palate, in your throat and finally in your stomach where it becomes a subtle warming sensation akin to a first shot of your choice Whiskey for the night.
Cigar Pairing: Don’t. Seriously, Don’t! I decided to break out a La Flor Dominicana Mysterio for this occasion and it is dwarfed by the bold flavors of Crime…..a feat that before this beer seemed unlikely (see my review of the Mysterio here )
Overall: This is a beautifully crafted beer that true aficionados should enjoy, but it is definitely not for the mild of palate or wallet. If you decide you must have one, hurry. Once they’re gone, it’s for good. Try the Stone Brewery Beer Finder here It is a great resource with multiple filters allowing you to search for carry out stores or bars and detailing their selection of Stone Brews.
Buy it, don’t buy it, it doesn’t matter. You won’t hurt Greg Koch’s feelings if you don’t like it nor will you hurt mine. This beer is superb and intense. Here’s to your brewing prowess Mr. Koch. But more importantly, Here’s to ME!