Follow along with our Beer of the Month selections on our Untappd profile. See past Beer of the Month picks here.
Over the last couple of months, I had been hearing about a crazy thing. The latest beer in Stone Brewing Company’s Stochasticity Project – a sub-brand that serves as a venue for more oddball experiments from the storied San Diego brewery – was something called an “imperial golden stout.” On the one hand, this seemed like a gimmick. A stout can’t possibly be golden; that’s part of the definition. On the other hand, the Stochasticity Project had already produced one of my all-time favorite beers (Grapefruit Slam IPA), so I was willing to see if lightning would strike twice.
If you want to get technical about it – and I do – Master of Disguise isn’t actually an imperial stout. It’s a strong golden ale that drinks like a stout. So, how is this curious brew created? Well, it’s a clever bit of trickery. Those traditional roasty stout flavors are evoked by the addition of cocoa and coffee beans, and the stout’s silky mouthfeel is replicated by adding flaked oats to the malt. It’s genius, really.
So, is Master of Disguise just a gimmick, or is it a solid beer in its own right? Well, it’s certainly a very good beer. The cocoa and coffee flavors are lovely, and the mouthfeel, while not quite what I would expect for a stout, is nice. But the best thing about it is, in fact, the gimmick. There’s a real cognitive dissonance in drinking this beer, which I found to be a lot of fun. Every time I picked up the glass to take another sip, I was surprised anew at how drastically different the flavor was from what the appearance would lead me to believe. Which, of course, is the whole point of this beer. So definitely try it out – it’s a limited release, but it may well rotate back into production in the future. It may not be the best beer you’ve ever had, but it’ll blow your mind in its own way.
What are you drinking?