Deschutes's name for its Stoic follow-up is an odd one. Not the Stoic? Is this an evolution of the previous Stoic, or is it part of «clever» marketing? Frankly, after having tried a pint at the Bend brewpub, I'm still uncertain.
The main technical difference, from what I can see at Deschutes's website, is that the barrel aging used to be done in 16.5% pinot and whiskey barrells. Now, it's down to 15%. The ABV has also increased with 1%.
(I'm sure there is more to it, but that's what I could find during my three minute research.)
I haven't had the Stoic in a while, but I do recall it being good, though not awesome, when released. After a few years it aged very well, but, from what I have been told, it went downhill mere months later.
Who knows if that'll be the case with Not the Stoic, but here, in the present, it once again is good. Just not awesome.
It pours a very deep amber, with about a finger worth of head, looking very much like the quad it is. Sniff, and the expected fruitiness of a wine barrel aged beer hits you hard. Pomegranate molasses was also used during brewing, so yeah… It comes off pretty dang sweet, with just a bit of a booziness to hold it all in check.
Flavorwise, the balance remains. Fruity, sweet, yet with a bit of a kick to it. It's not super exciting, though certainly a good quad. A good quad, but also undoubtedly a quad.
Going by memory, it does seem a bit more barrel-y than the original Stoic. The wine seems a bit more present. And is it possibly somewhat smoother?
In that sense, I have great expectations as far as aging it will go.
I mean, really, buy bottles as soon as you see them. A taste of Not the Stoic today, and further ones over the years that come, is something you should treat yourself to. Just don't expect greatness at first sip.
Vote for Deschutes Not the Stoic: It’s your civic duty!