Nov 30, 201211:16 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
Tasting Panel: Evil Twin / Stillwater / Stone “The Perfect Crime” Black Smoked Saison
From its gateway — albeit bold — beers to knockout limited releases that test the boundaries of even the most extreme hophead, Stone Brewing Company is the template for craft brewery success. The 16-year-old operation doesn’t make a bad beer. This is an audacious claim, yes, but it’s made after trying my best to work through the tap offerings at Stone’s Southern California headquarters, a Zen-like beer garden and bistro complex, replete with waterfalls and sighing grass. There’s also my years of brand loyalty. I jumped at the opportunity to review the latest of Stone’s one-off collaborations, Evil Twin / Stillwater / Stone “The Perfect Crime” Black Smoked Saison.
Given the bottle size (12 ounces) of the subject, the sampling session was small with only two participants, fellow craft beer lover and colleague, website content manager Steven Phelps, and myself.
“The Perfect Crime” pours a desert black with a stubborn head that belies its smoothness. Even though it’s a smoked beer—and the smoke does come mid-way through — it’s also a farmhouse saison, meaning it’s light and layered with fruit and spice tones. “It’s got a chocolate aroma, the crispness of smoke, and it’s dry,” opined Phelps. I noted a hay smell as well as a steady, easy bitterness from East Kent Goldings, Chinook, and Cluster hops with a refreshing counterpoint imparted by roasted malts. “‘The Perfect Crime’ has a balance that, if you wanted to, you could drink another,” I also said.
“It’s great to have such a balanced beer. I hate beers that are uneven like a roller coaster that goes up, up, up, then down,” my fellow taster added with an explosion sound effect and a hand gesture. “Maybe it’s too balanced. There’s no perfect crime, but, in this case, it does pay.”
Indeed, with a moderate alcohol by volume percentage (6.8) and hopefully available by bottle and on draft somewhere near you, it pays the palate well.