Typically, when a brewery releases a "collaboration beer", you can expect that they've collaborated with another brewery. Stone Brewing, one of the first to regularly brew collaborative projects, isn't content conforming to pre-conceived notions. Heck, they don't conform to much of anything. Many recent Stone joint projects have included local homebrewers, who are invited to enter their beers in contests for a shot at seeing their recipe brewed on Stone's behemoth system. For their most recent brew, the folks at Stone threw all convention out the window and collaborated with FARK.com creator Drew Curtis and actor/beer geek Wil Wheaton.
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That's right, we said WIL WHEATON. Better known at Ensign Wesley Crusher on a little show called Star Trek: The Next Generation. So, the very teenager who made the Enterprise move when Captain Picard uttered "engage!" also has a Stone brew with his name on it. Not a bad resume if you ask us.
The beer itself is a mish-mash of influences from all three collaborators. Stone's Greg Koch put up a boatload of hops, Curtis' Kentucky background led to the addition of rye and pecans, and Wheaton contributed the, you guessed it, wheat. The base beer is a huge imperial stout, 25% of which was aged in bourbon barrels. This is certainly not a beer for the faint of heart. At 13% ABV, there is a noticeable alcohol edge. A complex, nutty aroma with underpinnings of dark fruit is immediately apparent upon pouring the beer. There's a lot happening on the palate -- spicy rye, nutty pecan, hop bitterness, and subtle flavors of leather and vanilla mesh with warming alcohol notes.
Some may think there's too much going on in this beer ... and Stone, in typical fashion, would certainly say "you're not worthy!" We think it's a unique, contemplative sipper. A beer this big and complex will likely benefit from age. We recommend trying one fresh and one in a year or two (take notes!). Stone Farking Wheaton wOOtstout is currently on shelves at better beer stores throughout the city.