Stone Brewing Company Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale
This is something that I looked forward to. I was already a big fan of the original arrogant bastard and if the oak added anything it could only add to near perfection. My experience with oaked beers is limited but this one definitely didn't hide it's wood. Pours a mahogeny amber color with a standard head. Aroma is of sweet oak. Very unique and appealing. Oak may be the trendy thing to add to beer but lets see if it tastes up to par.
Flavor is nearly shocking. The oaking is the first thing I taste followed by the hop bitterness and flavor. This tastes good but may have swung toward the unbalanced end of the spectrum. The malt character is very much dominated by the oak. Only a shadow of the rich caramelly malt goodness remains. This is still a delicious beer but it's drinkability and matlyness have been sacrificed in the name of trend.
While still a big and flavorful beer I really prefer the original unoaked bastard. I have not lost all hope for oaking goodness because it does provide an alternative and more possibilities. This is a beer for someone who can't get enough bitter. The strong hopping and oak flavor really tip the scales over to the bitter side. Some malt gets through, just not enough for greatness. I would really like to have them side by side.
Final Score: 90% (Very Good, But a Shadow of Unoaked Greatness)