Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stone / BrewDog / Cambridge - Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

Beer: Juxtaposition Black Pilsner
Brewed by: Stone Brewing Co.,
Escondido, CA / BrewDog Brewery, Fraserburgh, Scotland, UK, /
Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, MA
Style: Pilsner (That's what they say, but even they know it's tenuous. We'd call it an Imperial Stout. You be the judge!)
ABV: 10%
IBUs: 100
Bottle: 12 fluid oz.
Served in: Pint glass
Place of purchase: BottleRock, Los Angeles, CA
Price: $6.99

As followers of our blog may know, we are big fans of Stone Brewing in Escondido, CA. So, what might a collaboration of Stone Brewing along with two other world class craft brewers be able to produce? Well, in this case a true beer anomaly: a black pilsner!

You read that correctly, a black pilsner!!! (If you're keeping track, the Juxtaposition is the first lager ever brewed by Stone!)

Stone, BrewDog and Cambridge collaborators decided to use lager yeast, and a longer, colder storage / fermentation time. So, naturally, one would think they were making a pilsner, which would mean the beer would be super crisp and hoppy, possibly a low
alcohol type of brew, right? Think again. You've never tasted anything like this before.

The folks at Stone, Brewdog and Cambridge set out to push the envelope and succeeded in pushing said envelope to its limit! This is definitely a unique hybrid beer and the three brewers certainly had a lot of fun making it. Three cheers!

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Juxtaposition Black Pilsner


Well, it's black. That's right. Just as the name would imply - black. As Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap put it so profoundly, "It's like, how much more black could this be?' And the answer is... None. None more black.'" You can't see through it at all, even when put up to the light. Slightly off-white colored head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Some lacing left on the glass.
Jugsy: The blackest beer I've ever seen! Completely opaque and seemingly impenetrable to light. Medium tan head dissipates, but thin head remains.


Malt comes to the nose first followed closely by woodsy hops. A tiny bit of funky yeast is present, as well. Little bits of chocolate and toffee are in there, too.
Jugsy: Coffee grounds and an immense fruity funk hit the nose immediately! Rotten Banana peels, pineapple, and dried apricots comprise the funky scent, followed by a touch of yeast. It smells a bit like sweet garbage. Possibly some piny hops mixed in with the roasted malts, but the funk is overwhelming.


Bold taste of semi-sweet chocolate hits the tongue, closely followed by slightly bitter roasted malt. Hops are really only an aftertaste here. There's another sweetness in there, as well, quite possibly from the yeast. Very complex.
Jugsy: Bitter hops and burnt malt taste right off the top, but there's also a sweetness I can't quite identify. The bitterness is actually heightened by a very sour (yeast?) flavor. Very complex palate - I can taste different components in every swig. The yeasty funk is in there, too, tying all the flavors together.


This one is chewy and very creamy. The creaminess is almost like drinking chocolate milk. Going on that same path, the coating left on the tongue is quite similar to what one might have after eating cacao or a dark chocolate bar.
Jugsy: This is a creamy pilsner with a moderate amount of carbonation. Bitter, yeasty coating on tongue that lasts for a while.


I can already feel this one. At a whopping 10%, one could only throw back a few of these before getting into serious trouble. And let me tell you, I'm looking for trouble.
Jugsy: The beer is a little on the heavy side. At 10% ABV, I feel confident saying it isn't a session beer -- even for Mugsy! If you can tolerate the bold punch of flavors - or if your taste buds just like a challenge - this may be your beer.


OK, I know this is considered to be a pilsner. It has lager yeast and is stored for a longer period of time, like a lager. But I mean, seriously. If I described a beer as black, smelling and tasting of chocolate and being extremely creamy, wouldn't you figure I was talking about a stout? Nonetheless, pilsner, stout, apples, oranges, who cares - this beer is fantastic. Extremely complex in flavor and aroma. I would drink this again within a beat of my black heart. I only wish the $6.99 price tag for a 12 fluid ounce bottle didn't leave a black hole in my wallet! Oh well. Guess I'll just have to savor this one. Hey! Looks like Jugsy drank the last of it. Black is black. I want my Juxtaposition back....
Jugsy: I'm having a love/hate relationship with the Juxtaposition. Now I see why they decided to call it that! So many opposing, clashing even, flavors, yet there is an undeniable harmony - a beauty to the madness. Stone, BrewDog and Cambridge set out to push the envelope and they definitely succeeded in doing so. On one hand, I feel like I've been tricked into drinking alcoholic garbage water, but on the other hand, I kind of like it! Definitely a unique brew. Try one for yourself and see!

Mugsy: 8.80

Jugsy: 6.75


  1. Mugsy, I love your Spinal Tap reference!

  2. Mugsy is ever so clever! ;-)


  3. I enjoy reading your beer reviews I'm creating my own list and hopefully I can go through them by the weekend!