Although the hops dominate the taste of this beer, the sweet maltiness helps round them out and make them less abrasive. This isn't one of those beers where they just tried to see how much hop they could force down our throats, it's well balanced and refreshingly delicious. With caramel and slight citrus fruit flavors there is some great balance with the citrus and pininess of the hops.
When it comes to an all around good beer, there are few things that could out do the Arrogant Bastard... or so I thought.
I just got some Oaked Arrogant Bastard on tap at Shallo's. It was impressive, so to be fair I went out and got a bottle so I could compare bottles to bottles. In a competition between bastards the Oaked Bastard had all of the strong points of the original with added complexity of an oak aging process, which I believe helped to mellow out the bitterness of the hops even further. Right away there was a woody vanilla aroma added to everything that had already happened with the AB. All this is good stuff, but I will say the oak flavor was pretty intense. It overwhelmed a lot of the great flavor that you got from the original Arrogant Bastard. If you like the oak aged flavors, this beer totally delivers.
To take this one step further I decided it was important to get the double bastard in here. Double Bastard is the "barley wine" version of Arrogant Bastard. It's 11.2% abv instead of Oaked and Standard AB which comes in at 7.2%. The Double poured out a little less transparent than the other two but about the same coloring.
This was my favorite of the three beers. It smelled a little bit more like berries and the same citrus hoppy aroma from the other Bastards. Upfront there was caramel and fruit flavors with rich sweetness and slight toastiness. This was balanced out by a clean bitterness that lasts for about ten seconds of bliss and then it rolls over to the alcohol flavor.
This is definitely more boozy than the others, but it is still well balanced. The heavier malts and hops help to cover up the alcohol taste and make the whole thing pretty smooth. It has a heavier mouth feel than the other two beers, but it was not unpleasant.
In wrap up:
- The Oaked Bastard was less hoppy but had a heavy vanilla flavor. If you are scared of heavy hops or just love an oak finish this is the beer for you.
- The standard AB had the cleanest finish, the Double Bastard had lingering booze flavor and the Oaked had lingering woodyiness. It is hard to beat a classic.
- If you like something with a bit more kick, Double Bastard is your brew. Solid flavor, tons of kick.
Oaked Arrogant Bastard- 4.0
Double Bastard- 4.5