I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of the most memorable parts of the show, besides how insanely badass Picard wasm was the whiny, annoying character Wil Wheaton played, boy-man Wesley Crusher. No matter the situation they would find themselves in, his character would find a way to make it more annoying, to the point where I would turn the episodes that featured him off rather than be forced to endure them.
Well, like all of us, Wheaton has grown up. However, unlike most of us, he has helped produce a hell of a beer.
In July of 2013, Stone Brewing Co. announced a collaboration brew that brought together Wheaton, who is an avid home brewer, Fark.com creator Drew Curtis and Stone CEO Greg Koch together. Named w00tstout1 after Wheaton’s annual festival celebrating cross-genre geekdom w00tstock, the 13 percent ABV imperial stout was brewed with rye, wheat malt and pecans before being partially aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. There were three different versions of the bottle released, each with different artwork, and it was sent out to Stone’s entire distribution network.2
Due to the popularity of the beer, Stone decided to release a follow-up in July of this year appropriately named w00tstout 2.0. Wheaton and Curtis were back at the helm of the project, but Koch’s slot was replaced by actress and talk show host Aisha Tyler. Like the original version, the beer was brewed with rye, wheat malt and pecans before being partially aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, but in honor of Tyler’s involvement, stone-ground chocolate was added to the recipe as well. The final beer came in at a whopping 13 percent ABV and 65 IBUs, and unlike the first release, the 22-ounce bottles were distributed only in California and Kentucky. There was also only one label available, produced by comic book artist Dave Gibbons.3
In August, Stone announced another w00tstout release, this one named Super Magic wÖÖtstout, which would be brewed by the original team of Wil Wheaton, Drew Curtis and Greg Koch. The special release beer is part of Stone’s Groundbreaking Collaborations that was sold on Indiegogo, and will only be released in 1.5 liter bottles. Super Magic wÖÖtstout will be brewed in Stone’s as-yet-to-be-built brewery in Berlin, and will be available sometime after 2015.
- Stone Brewing Co. w00tStout (2013) —13 percent ABV — Artwork by Jade Blessinger
- Stone Brewing Co. w00tStout (2013) —13 percent ABV — Artwork by Jeff Perkin
- Stone Brewing Co. w00tStout (2013) —13 percent ABV — Artwork by Joel Watson
- Stone Brewing Co. w00tStout 2.0 (2014) —13 percent ABV — Artwork by Dave Gibbons
The w00tStout 2.0 pours jet black with plenty of fluffy head that is mocha brown in color and a lacing that lingers for quite a while, although the carbonation level seems a bit light visually. Aroma from the glass is a combination of strong barley, sweet malt, nuts, vanilla bean, oak and raisins.
The first sip of the w00tStout 2.0 brings flavors of dark fruit, oak, vanilla beans, dark chocolate, bourbon and barley. There is an overt sweetness to the profile overall, and I can taste a tart, nutty pecan note on the finish that combines well with it. Carbonation is excellent for this particular beer, enough to enhance the profile while not overwhelming any other aspect. I can taste the bourbon, especially on the finish, but it is not so strong as to be detrimental. The mouthfeel is great, slick and viscous, coating my tongue every time I take a pull.
As it warms, both the bourbon and pecan notes become more dominant, and the sweetness in the profile increases in a huge way. I also start to taste the chocolate a bit more and while the carbonation hangs around longer than I thought it would, the aroma coming from the glass becomes more distinct as well.