Stone Releases Master of Disguise

2014_StchPrjct_MasterofDisguise_22oz_WEBESCONDIDO, CA — Beer enthusiasts, prepare for a mind- and palate-defying experience that may change some of your preconceived notions about beer. The latest Stochasticity Project release will challenge the assumption that pale-colored ales are modest in body, or that only dark-hued beers can exhibit roasty, chocolaty and rich malty notes. Beginning today, Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise, a so-called imperial golden stout brewed with coffee beans, cocoa and coffee beans (not a typo), will start arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft to select markets nationwide.

The inspiration for this beer was twofold: First, after brewing Stone 11th Anniversary Ale (a black IPA now known as Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA) in 2007, it was joked that Stone should brew a golden stout. Then, on April Fool’s Day 2010, Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch and BrewDog Co-founder James Watt teased fans with a fictional, oxymoronic collaboration beer that was pale in color but had all the classic flavors of an imperial stout, calling it BrewDog/Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Stout. Having tucked away the concept for that far-fetched beer, Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele finally decided to make it a reality by developing a pilot batch recipe featuring ingredients that contributed roasty flavors and a pale color.

“To achieve the qualities of a stout, we relied on our prior experience brewing with coffee to pull flavors from the beans without affecting the hue of the beer,” explains Steele. “As the beer warms and opens up, the chocolate adds another level of complexity and helps build the traditional flavors typically associated with dark beers. It’s been really fun to see a prank with questionable viability become a reality.”

To give the beer the silky-smooth mouthfeel that is often associated with stouts, flaked oats were added to the grain bill along with Carapils, English amber and pale malts, which lent the beer a golden-colored hue. Sheets of cocoa from ChocoVivo were added in the whirlpool along with Ryan Bros Coffee, with an additional small amount of coffee added post-fermentation to replicate the typical deep, roasty, chocolaty character found in stouts. Giving off a mild spice flavor and strong bitterness, both Liberty and Nugget hops offer a perfect balance to the overall robust malt flavors. Upon first sip, fans will savor all the rich complexity of a stout presented in the unexpected form of a brilliant golden ale.

Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise is ready to be enjoyed now or may be properly cellared for several months or even years. Over time, the malt qualities will evolve and give way to richer cocoa and coffee flavors. Regardless of when the beer is enjoyed, fans will learn to not judge beer by its color… at least not this one.

Quick facts:

  • Name: Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise
  • URL:
  • Stats: 9.7% ABV, 55 IBUs
  • Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning Nov. 17
  • Hops Bill: Liberty and Nugget
  • Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT and WA
  • Find beer:

Tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Pours deep gold with a light tan head.
  • Aroma: Coffee aromatics dominate. Roasted notes and cocoa play in the background until the beer warms in the glass, and then they are pleasantly apparent, along with fruity esters from the yeast and hints of vanilla.
  • Taste: At first, the flavor is mostly coffee and fruity esters from the fermentation. As the flavor progresses, more cocoa comes out, along with a balanced bitterness.
  • Palate: Full bodied and smooth.
  • Overall: After we brewed Stone 11th Anniversary Ale, a black IPA, someone on the brewing team joked that our next beer should be a golden stout. We then used that joke for an April Fool’s gag in 2010, and I’ve been wondering if we could pull it off ever since. The resulting beer here is a rich strong ale with prevalent coffee and cocoa notes.

Suggested pairings:

  • Appetizers: Bacon-wrapped dates, aka Devils on Horseback; coconut shrimp (pronounced with a Forrest Gump accent); blue cheese-stuffed mushrooms; spiced pumpkin seeds
  • Soups: French onion, beef stew, lentil, chili con carne
  • Entrées: Lamb chops, coffee-rubbed venison, mushroom risotto, red lentil curry
  • Cheeses: Aged Cheddar, Maytag Blue, Grana Padano, Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue
  • Desserts: Arrogant Bastard Ale brownies, vanilla bean ice cream, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (the kind made with quality ingredients, of course), really awesome tiramisu
  • Cigars: Padr├│n 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro, Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estate, Illusione MJ12 Maduro

About Stone

Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 10 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multi-faceted company will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate its own brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations is anticipated to begin late 2015. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit or the company’s social media sites:Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.

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