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.
papajohn (1248) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - JUN 23, 2010
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2010 Bomber from BevMo: Hazy golden color with a small, but fading white head. Aroma is lightly grassy with hints of peach, orange, grapefruit and pine. Flavor starts grassy followed by some citrus and toffee with a light, dry grassy/orange rind bitterness in the finish. Medium body is smooth with moderate carbonation.
JohnnyJ (4040) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 23, 2010
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft at the stone bistro. Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow and a fluffy white head. Bitter hoppy aroma, musty malt, like dirt, almost shit. Flavor is more citrusy, with grapefruit, orange, toffee malt, pepper, and yeast. This one is not quite as clean as many other IPAs around here, not that it is a bad thing.
LtDan (1740) - Los Angeles County, California, USA - JUN 15, 2010
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 oz. bottle
Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow gold with a slightly red tint to it. Within the body you can see a few rising bubbles. Atop sits a gorgeous fluffy white head that subsides to a respectable sized creamy cap.
Aroma: Candied orange and grapefruit, pine and more citrus. As it warms, a light whiff of toffee peaks through.
Taste: Salty toffee, resinous pine and grapefruit hops and a very unique yeast flavour .
Mouthfeel: Sticky, modestly carbonated, and full bodied.
Overall: I had low expectations for this beer, as I am a California/USA craft beer patriot, and was worried Stone’s signature hopping style wouldn’t shine through in this beer. Suffice to say I was completely wrong.
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