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Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

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RATINGS: 720   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.77   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 100   EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JorisPPattyn (7780) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - SEP 17, 2011
Draught Small dense, just off-white head over hazy orange-yellow beer. Ureum!! Dry, ureum-rich (indeed, British) hops. Strawy, hay. Ureum seems to be volatile, less obvious after a moment, but it is really adaptation: leave the glass for a couple of minutes, and the smell returns in force. Dry bitter, other grains hints, even drier finish. Medium bodied, very slick, hopoils. Aftertaste shows the alcohol and... liquorice? Ureum is just too present to be really great. I fear that the American idea of "more is better" just doesn’t work for British hops, some of which indeed have this enormous amount of ureum-like components.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DocLock (7703) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 21, 2010
Bottles from Capone’s and Frank Smith’s. Pours hazy canary with 3 finger white sticky head. Nose is mangoey, spicy, floral, with malt, very fruity, with berry, and sweet. Very complex nose. Tastes malty, very assertively hoppy, reminds me a bit of a sweeter version of Southern Tier Hoppe mixed with Gemini. There’s a lot of hops here, a lot of fruit, some cloying notes, and a very earthy, spicy overall flavor. Very good, with minor late heat, and very unique. I’d love too stack this against some of Stone’s historically great IPAs/IIPAs. Well done, Greg.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MartinT (7677) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 4, 2010
My Bottom Line:
Peppery, spicy hops proliferate atop and within this Double IPA’s lightly toasted cereals, before expanding into a vivacious bitterness.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A veil of foam laces around the hazy pale blonde.
-Alcohol is present, but mostly hidden by the lengthy hop bitterness.
-Hops also develop coniferous angles, which I admit I haven’t gotten often from UK grown hops.
-Malts also offered some honeyed character, mostly supporting the hop display.

Bottle.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
gnoff (7664) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - DEC 16, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 20, 2011 First rating
650 ml (bomber) bottle, thanks to ekstedt!
BB 2011-04-30, sampled on December 15, 2010
Hazy hay colored yellow color, medium though lasting off-white head. Sweet, sugary, hoppy, berry, alcohol scent. Hoppy at first in the taste, though quickly move on to maltys weet mixed with sweet alcohol. Medium mouthfeel, warming alcohol. Medium hop bitterness, but a dry alcohol bitterness is very evident.
8/3/5/3/11=3.0

Rerate
Rated in a blind tasting
650 ml bottle thanks to Mats (not on Ratebeer)!
Sampled on December 17, 2010
BB date 2011-04-30.
Cloudy yellow color with yeast particles, smallish off-white head. Sweet, a bit of stable scent, also cheese. Hoppy, red berries, apricots, sweet, dry taste. Very dry aftertaste. Moussy mouthfeel, high dry bitterness.
6/2/7/3/12=3.0

Bottle is too big, even when shared with 3 the first time and 5 the second, most of it still got poured out.

Rerate
Bottle thanks to larsniclas! On February 4, 2011
Cloudy apricot color with floating stuff in it, white head. Sweet, caramel, hoppy scent. Malty, cream, bitter, hoppy, grainy taste. Warming alcohol. Medium mouthfeel, medium dry grainy aftertaste.
6/2/6/3/11=2.8

Draught at Moeder Lambic, Brussels, for Zwanze Day 2011 as well as the Moeder vs Stone beer festival. Sampled on September 17, 2011
Slight bit hazy yellow color, medium sized white head. Grainy, malty, some white pepper, sweet scent. Sweet, malty, bitter, grainy, hoppy, alcohol taste. Smooth mouthfeel, high bitterness. Grainy and alcohol aftertaste.
Like it better on draught and less fresh than the bottles I’ve tried in the past.
7/3/7/4/14=3.5

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jercraigs (7456) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 11, 2011
2011-01-08. Lightly hazy golden pastel body with a small fluffy white head. 3+ Pleasant bitterness throughout, light fruity character, lemon grass as it warms. 7+ Pleasant hoppy aroma, sweet lemon, dry lemon accents. Smooth average bodied palate. Very enjoyable, alcohol is barely noticed. Bottle from Premier Gourmet, Buffalo

"…But then it hit your gut… and ricocheted!"

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Benzai (7220) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - SEP 20, 2011
Draught at Chez Moeder Lambic Fontainas during the three day Stone Event, 16-18 september 2011. Clear yellow / golden color, big white head. Smell is not very good for an Imperial/Double IPA, but overall still decent. Taste is also a little disappointing, a little bit like old, somewhat fainted hops. Ok carbo, medium body.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JUN 29, 2010
Bottle: Pours a clear golden bronze with a stringy-lacing froth of white head. Has a sweet pale malty nose with some grassy grapefruity hoppy notes and earthy undertones. Starts with pretty good fullness and sticky pale malty sweetness with a resiny lemongrass hop flavor before a drier, lightly bready and bittersweet finish. A pretty unique concept, but I’ll stick with the traditional ESB or American IIPA.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ughsmash (7087) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 3, 2010
Bomber. Poured clear, slightly-richer-than-straw golden with a sticky cap of white head. The aroma picked up wet, juicy grapefruit, tangerine, and peppery earth over apricot meat and pale malts.. warm overall and very fruity, with a fine complement of black pepper. The flavor found the aforementioned black pepper just slightly above all other facets of the drink.. fruity notes, pale malts, and a hit of honey at the core.. very bitter on the edges and finish, showcasing tangerine, grapefruit, and earth.. a bit catty in the end with lots of bitterness and warmth. Medium-bodied and well-carbonated on the palate.. very bitter with an atypical blend of hops (that worked fairly well).. flowed well. I’d drink this again.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
crossovert (6934) - Illinois, USA - MAR 7, 2011
I think it was pretty good, they Americanized the English hops, it’s very nice.

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Ibrew2or3 (6767) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - AUG 21, 2010
Bomber pours deep clear gold with copper hues and nice bright white head. The aroma is bold with pine sap drenched apricot wedges, spicy grapefruit, floral hops and orange hard candy at the end of the draw. The taste is rich full yum with pineapple, tangelo, resiny pine-apricot, spicy hops and floral hops. It gets a bit more citrusy midway and then moves toward floral and spicy hops into the finish. It has plenty of citrus and pine hop bitterness bite to balance out the firm floral notes.


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