Into the fire with Stone Brewing’s Crime & Punishment


Crime and Punishment, two new barrel-aged beers from Stone Brewing Co., literally bring the heat. They are jam packed with 15 different chile peppers, some of which are the hottest on earth.

At the heart of Crime is Lukcy Bastard, the glorious blend of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale, and OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale. As if that wasn’t cocky enough, Greg Koch added a collection of peppers to the Kentucky bourbon barrel in which it was aging. The result was liquid fire.


Plenty of beers are spiced with peppers, but most look to add a little heat. Crime aims to set your mouth ablaze then laugh maniacally from the rafters as it rains down napalm on your tongue. Stone Brewing talks a lot of shit when it comes to their beer descriptions, but this one is no joke. It’s liquid fire. In the worlds of Les Grossman, “I am talking scorched earth motherfucker.”

If that last paragraph didn’t the point across, the beer is hot. The entry and finish are both nothing more than heat. The mid-palate is where you actually get quite a bit of flavor from the undisclosed hops. Crime is 102 IBUs, which helps the hops shine through the wildfire. Oak from the boubon barrel is prevelant at this point as well. Per usual, some caramel comes along with the wood as well as a little vanilla. You can almost tell that it’s Lukcy Bastard, but the peppers are quick to wipe that out of your mind. Those peppers include red and green jalapeño, Fatali, Caribbean Red Hot, Habanero, Ghost, Black Naga (tried here by Halle Berries), Super, Moruga Scorpion, 7 Pot, Aji Amarillo, Scorpion, Giant White Habanero, 7 Pot Douglah and Douglah peppers.

It would be wrong to call this a novelty beer because it tastes great and is of the utmost quality, but it’s definitely a small collection of people who will enjoy it. That’s been Stone Brewing’s shtick the whole time. Their beer isn’t for everyone, only the select few. Those daring few will definitely be shrunk even further with Crime.

I’ve yet to try Punishment, but it’s a similar beer made with Double Bastard Ale in place of Lukcy Bastard. You might celebrate the 12% ABV, but that’s going to make the heat even more severe. The result is likely befitting of the name.

Crime and Punishment are the first of Stone Brewing’s 500ml bottles to get nationwide distribution, albeit still limited, thanks to their new barrel-aging program and bottling line. Check out Greg Koch’s sneak peak at the new facility, and look for Crime and Punishment on shelves this month.