Nick Carr on March 16, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Sapporo Location: Ontario, Canada Style: English Mild Ale ABV: 5.0% IBU: 28 Appearance: Amber With Ruby Tint and Tightly-Packed Off-White Head Aroma: Disappointing Lack of Aromas; Notes of Caramel Sweetness; Not Much Else Flavor: Light & Mild; Oddly Unbalanced Sweetness; Rambunctious Malty Sweetness; Low Hoppiness Availability: Limited Pairs With: Grilled steak, Beef stew, Gruyere cheese, dark fruit tart I must admit that the whole reason I bought this beer was anchored in its name… and a hope. I mean come on, any beer with a name like Stone Warrior deserves a look. And the hope? Well, the hope is that even though it comes from a macro brewer like Sapporo maybe, just maybe, it would be something different. I know, long odds and all that, but a guy can dream? Sapporo is the oldest brand of beer in Japan and has been brewed since 1876. The brewery was first opened by Seibei Nakagawa, a German trained lager braumeister. Born in Japan, Seibei Nakagawa illegally migrated to Europe at the age of 17, where he learned the craft of brewing. Sapporo started exporting to the U.S. in 1964 and these days much of the Sapporo beer sold in North America is either brewed in La Crosse Wisconsin for Sapporo U.S.A. or at the Sleeman brewery in Guelph, Ontario (which is where Stone Warrior is brewed). Oddly enough when I started trying to do a little research on this particular beer I came up completely empty. There is nothing about this beer on either the main Sapporo website or the Ontario website. So I can’t really give any further information to you other than what’s written right on the bottle. The label sticks with the color scheme of other Sapporo beers with a silver Mempo (Samurai warrior mask) on a black background. if you look closely, both barley and hops are integrated into the picture as parts of the mask. Kinda cool. On the back of the bottle it says, “Like the Samurai warriors of Japan, Stone Warrior represents mastery of skill and devotion to perfecting an art. The combination of roasted malts, choice hops, and deep aquifer water create a robust flavor and medium body fit for any beer lover’s palate.” Pour and Aroma Color goes toward the amber; reddish, slightly garnet or ruby depending on lighting. Crystal clear, but dark enough that only impressions of the world come through the glass, though the small bubbles of carbonation are visible rising of the bottom. One finger of tightly packed off-white head rises to the top, than drops after about a minute to a thinner film that remained present and beautifully stable throughout my tasting. Fresh out of the fridge, I find little aroma to this ale. After letting it warm up for about thirty minutes the aroma is sort of a disappointing one horse show. Get distinct caramel sweetness, possibly a little toast, but little else. I’ll let it warm up a little longer and see what happens. Another fifteen minutes and it not any closer to getting more complex; the caramel is more pronounced, but that’s about it. The aroma isn’t bad, just simple, underwhelming. Mouthfeel and Taste Good carbonation helps with a light medium-thin mouthfeel. A slightly metallic mouthfeel when cold becomes almost harsh as the beer warms. When cold, this beer is light and mild, with an oddly unbalanced sweetness. Slight undertones of roast are sadly underplayed through the mid-palate, allowing the malt sweetness to get a little to rambunctious. Low hop bitterness on the swallow edges the whole a smidgen closer to balanced, but this one is definitely about the sweet malts. A Mouthcoating and marginally drying finish. Finishing the Impression Beware the warmth. This one is pretty good when cold (though underwhelming to be sure), but as if you try and let it warm so that aroma and taste are more evident, a strange harshness also becomes way too evident. So if you drink it, drink it cold my friends. There isn’t much in this beer that would send me running back to it. It’s not great; it’s a well-made, drinkable beer with little shine. If I had to pick a style to fit this beer into I probably have to go with English Mild. It’s not a bad example either, but there are definitely better, more complex, and livelier examples available. And having a penchant for names I’d have to say that “Stone Warrior” is lost on this beer… ah, what a shame. Cheers!