Quick Take: Impressive malt and lemon/orange body the rampages through your mouth to the delight of this IPA lover…at first. Your mileage will vary depending on how intense you like the lemony sweetness of your beer and your feelings towards West Coast IPAs. Not really a bitter is better crowd beer either as the bitterness is along for the ride when this lemon comet of a beer takes off across your taste buds. I’m glad to have tried it, but the one bottle is enough for me this year.
Brew Facts: Stone is throwing a beer festival to celebrate their 18th anniversary. I’ve included a link to their massive list of available beers and if you are even remotely in the area, check it out. Looks to be a fantastic event and one I wish I could attend. Stone 18th Anniversary Beersplosion
Appearance: I immediately poured this within a few seconds of buying the bottle, ready to dive into what stone has to offer. What poured out is a brown, amber red that some would call a deep copper. As I’m not some, I consider it closer to a pale brown. Head retention is minimal, flattening down to a white-ish collective of bubbles congregating on the surface. Holding the glass to the light, not a single bubble moves through the rustic brown liquid. The clarity is typical for a Stone IPA – crystal.
Aroma: My nostrils are immediately hit with orange blossom and the slightest hop pine qualities. There is a bit of roast malt, but it is crushed under the so orange juicy that it smells like an Orange Julius minus the dairy lactose aroma. Huge citrus notes perfume the air space above the beer with lemongrass, sweet pink grapefruit, and OJ. To that I say hell yes.
Taste/Mouth Feel: The body is full and lends itself to a nice, rich mouth fell that skirts syrupy. This just hits hard with a flavor that is oranges, lemons, and flowers soaked in a caramel beer base. The earthiness is undeniable and takes on an orangesicle and lemonade quality that works with the slight hit of alcohol tang. This ends a little thinner than it starts, but a big beer all around with a finish that lingers long after. After a few minutes of sipping, this hits some palate fatigue that wallows and builds on the intense tongue slamming notes. The more of it you drink, the bigger the flavors get, making this beer an ideal candidate for a palate cleanser like charcuterie, smoked salmon, or hell, even pretzels. It builds layers and layers of the lemon and malt, but balances it with a bittersweet breadiness. Note: Serve this a bit colder than normal to avoid the lemon pledge and pine-sol qualities that emerge as the beer warms.
Final Thoughts: This is a damn intense beer, but when is a Stone IPA anything but? Impressive malt and lemon/orange body the rampages through your mouth to the delight of this IPA lover…at first. The mega floral and bitter lemon wears on the palate after a while and fatigue sets in well before I was done with the first glass. Your mileage will vary depending on how intense you like the lemony sweetness of your beer and your feelings towards coastal IPAs. East Coast IPA drinkers may want to skip this ultra fruity IPA that is proud of its West Coast roots and makes no compromises. If you do delve into this El Dorado dry-hopped beast, you may want to bust this out for a party and share it around. Not really a bitter is better crowd beer either as the bitterness is along for the ride when this lemon comet of a beer takes off across your taste buds. I’m glad to have tried it, but the one bottle is enough for me this year.