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Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

Formerly brewed at Stone Brewing
Style: Imperial IPA
Escondido, California USA
Serve in Shaker, Snifter


on tap


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RATINGS: 726   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.77/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 100   EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%
We went to England this past spring as self-styled “IPA Hunters” on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history of India Pale Ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year old brewer’s logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: we make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it.

This one however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the “Burtonised” water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all British ingredients to brew our “Emperial” IPA.* While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes?

In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex, and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present, and future?

*Um, except for our filtered Colorado River water, of course.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
beersearcher (2382) - Glendale, California, USA - JUN 25, 2010
Very spicy and woodsy. First sip is really peppery. Nice to have a potent yet variant IPA. pours a yellow orange. bitterness really lingers on the palate. another anniversary winner from Escondido.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
beerfest5 (1207) - Cloneen, IRELAND - JUN 25, 2010
like an imperial version of their regular ipa. thats exactly how this tastes. really good hoppy aroma that stone has made very popular in the last few years taken to another level. the abv is not that bad considering its only a few more degrees more than the regular ipa. the taste is distinctive stone, hoppy and grapefruit. nice beer, enjoyed it more than 13.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
gorditoabd (629) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 24, 2010
Bomber. Pours a shiny yellow-orange. with an ample offering of fluffy white foam head. Aroma is mostly subtle piney hops, with a tough of citrus and honey. Taste is rich and balanced. Initially bitter hops (though pleasant and mild), followed by honey-graham sweetness. Full and very well balanced throughout, with just a touch of the ABV coming through at the end-palate, with a slightly boozy burn. Happy anniversary Stone!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
andyhwcinc (1762) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 24, 2010
Enjoyed in a 4 oz sampler at Stone World Bistro. This, along with everything I had there, was just incredible. Aroma is of an English Ale on steroids, very pronounced yeast aroma complimented with Fuggle hops that have it smelling like a college dorm room. Appearance is of a standard English ale with little head. Taste was very smooth, subtle hops but very much present. This is an English IPA with tremendous character and I wouldn’t have guessed its 9% ABV.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
notalush (5625) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 24, 2010
If there goal was to create an amped up version of a hoppy british ale, they certainly nailed it with this - the nose starts this off - the british hops are apparent, as are some dry, crackery malts, and a distinct hard water quality - some notes of peach and citrus add a slight american element - all of this carries over to the flavor - the "burtonized" hard water amplifies the character of the dry malt and bitter east kent - the faintest bit of buttery diacetyl quickly dissolves into moderate sweetness through the middle - finishes dry, peppery, bitter, mildly chalky, earthy - not too bad.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
danielcurtis81 (1519) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 24, 2010
Served from a 22 oz bottle from OTM. My 40th Stone rating. The appearance is a straw yellow with a white peach tone to it. A small white head that fades. The aromas are full of English hops, fresh fruits (mostly stone fruits), heavy pale malts, alcohol. The flavors are also full of the English hops, white peaces, pale malts, salt, honeydew, under ripped pineapple, tangerine, pine resins, nice lime too.The mouth is very dry with a powdery feel at time in the middle but the drying prevails towards the end. Loving this brew, almost want to open my 2nd bottle. If you are looking for a West Coast hop bomb this really isn’t it, if you want something complex, different, and a strong and unique hop profile grab some of this one!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
doubleo (1432) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 24, 2010
Pours a pale honey yellow color with a medium sized white head, some lace. Smells of pungent and spicy hops with some caramel/cereal malts as well. Tastes spicy and hoppy, clean, pungent with some light sweet malt flavors through the middle. Bitterness and a hint of fruit on the finish. Medium body, good carbonation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
StefanSD (2286) - Ouray, Colorado, USA - JUN 24, 2010
UPDATED: JAN 22, 2011 650 ml bottle from Bev4less. Pours a slightly cloudy yellow gold color with a medium white head that has fair retention. The aroma is moderate in strength with lemons, pineapple, sawdust and salty sweat. The flavor is biter hops forward with citrus, especially pineapple, grapefruit, biter hazelnuts, biscuit and salt. The palate is full and malty with lively carbonation. The finish is medium in duration with lingering biter hops and a hint of pineapple. Overall: Wow, I’ve found a new favorite DIPA, get it while its fresh!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
RickTStiles (826) - Houston, Texas, USA - JUN 24, 2010
Pours clear amber with a thin white head and hefty lacing. Aroma is a bit acidic with citrus, dextrose, and yeast. Flavor is hop heavy with notes of honey and fruit. finish is moderate.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 23, 2010
Sweet, 1st rating of this beer (the 7 previous ratings don’t matter to anyone, obviously) I decided to tick and drain pour this beer...or at least that is my intentions prior to popping the cap. I guess, in a way, when you go into it expecting not to want to drink more than a few sips, even a mediocre beer will be perceived as better than it actually is...and through evolution, I have finally found that this is necessary when attempting to to give stone an unbiased review. The back of the bottle states "all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point"...now assuming "Arrogant Bastard" is one of their original offerings (and what "original" means is up in the the air...it was first released a year to year and half after the brewery opened...but there were only a very small handful of prior released styles, so Im going to assume "Arrogant Bastard" is considered an original offering from Stone’s point of view), I want to know what traditional British style that started from, or maybe it’s obvious and I’m just dumb. So be it, the less i know of Arrogant Bastard, the smarter I am.

Pours fairly light in color, the large head signifying that it may be quite fizzy...begging the question, is this the fizzy yellow beer stone has been eluding to all these years? Ahhh..the nose...the first real indication of where the experience is about to lead you...(btw..appearance scores should be 3 choices, 1, 2, or 3...a scale of 5 for appearance is asking for meaningless variance in scores)...back to the nose..yes, the nose. it’s weird....it’s got like a husky/grainy element to it, a dry fruity characteristic as well...then theres a slightly, albeit almost enjoyable, skunkiness behind it, then like a cakey sweetness with some notes of peach compote. So, I will say this...I think i like the nose.

Flavorwise..this hits you with, what it seems at first, strange, maybe interesting/maybe not bitterness right up front...its bitterness you have to think about, it almost has a uriney tartness to it, but not overly offensive...it’s floral but not soapy or powdery...well, actually...maybe it’s both a bit soapy and powdery now that I think about it...but there’s a very dry yet sharp tangerine element here, but completely devoid of any sweetness whatsoever...and there’s a soil-like or root-like earthiness that is taking this thing to an almost rustic place, which is a mindbending phenomenon considering this beer is coming from Stone...

OK, at this point I think I have decided that I am not going to be drain pouring this bottle because...whether I decide I like it or not, it’s going to at least take me most of this bottle to decipher my feelings..that right there is an accomplishment for stone...even should i conclude here that this beer fucking sucks...I’m proud of them for making me think for once.

After drinking some more, the bitterness tames down a little bit...but I think I dig the dryness of this beer as well as the lack of the stone house character I have come to despise over the last couple years...it actually reminds me a bit of old school stone...as they were still trying to figure out where they wanted to go...they didn’t have anything restricting their beers, their free form created positive results...then some asshole had a vision of what a stone beer should taste like, and the next 36 beers released tasted like asshole....this is a break in the pattern, fuckin’ A.

So, overall...what we have here is an IPA...with some very dry, earthy elements taking hold..some aggressive bitterness but dry fruity undertones....an earthy malt backbone with deceptive ability to be sweet enough to balance the hop bitterness, yet be earthy enough not to come across as sweetness when paid attention too.... what’s missing is that terrible stone house character that makes 99% of their beers suck my balls. The result, a beer...from stone...not brewed over 7 years ago...that I can honestly say that I, i think, i actually quite enjoy.

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