In the 15 years since we entered the craft brewing world, change has come not in a straight line, but as an exponential curve. The craft brewing movement has long been called a "revolution." But today the air is so thick with revolution, itís palpable. No longer is it only an awareness among the faithful; the unconverted are beginning to feel it as well. Denial and ignorance are disappearing in favor of opened eyes, curiosity and the sense that thereís something larger out there. For far too long we have been lied to. For far too long we have been oppressed by the notion that dumbed-down-lowest-common-denominator-mediocrity was all that we could, and should, expect. You might think weíre talking only about the world of brewing, but weíre not. There is a myriad of products out there masquerading as cheeses, coffee, chocolates, breads...hell, there is stuff pretending to be ífoodí that our great grandmothers would not recognize as such. Yet the craft brewing movement, together with the artisanal food movement, is making much progress. Where the industrial companies canít dismiss or bury us, they are attempting to copy us with cheap facsimiles. Yes, chances are if you are holding this bottle, you understand these things to be true about the world of brewing. You also likely understand the importance of our fight at Stone against accepted ínormsí over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution, & mediocrity still reigns. Consider that when you reject dumbed down, industrialized food and drink, you also support craft brewing. The line is nearly seamless; we are fighting the same battle. We will not win in our lifetime, as the powers are too entrenched, and the masses too‚Ä¶fooled. And shackled. However, this is a revolution of ideas and of taste, and we will win. How do you want to be viewed by your children, and your childrenís children? As a hero, or as the oppressed? (Those that donít think they have been oppressed are already lost.) Ultimately, itís up to you to decide. We hope youíll stand with us. Strong and unyielding. You are needed. This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight. Cheers to all weíve accomplished together in the past fifteen years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!
horto008 (182) - Alabama, USA - JUL 29, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On draft in Las Vegas. Terrific stuff that tastes much like a more typical IPA than its color would make you think. Think regular IPA with more smokey, leathery overtones. I felt the alcohol was up front and detracted from it overall.
BiochemProf (179) - Boone, North Carolina, USA - SEP 18, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
A dense black brown pour with a thick brown creamy head. Wonderful aroma! Strong hop nose of citrus and pine layered upon earthy and chocolate hints from the malt. Flavor of chocolate and coffee with a faint hint of grapefruit. Sharp lasting bitterness at the finish. Thick viscous mouthfeel with a nice creamy carbonation underneath. Outstanding beer! Blending styles like this often comes off poorly but the brewers at Stone are obvious masters. Very well done!
muteprint (176) - Olympia, Washington, USA - SEP 10, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
22 oz bottle in a frosty glass. Holy cow this is a strong beer. The immediate stand out flavors are coffee and chocolate with a strong bitter punch. Aroma is dominated by malt. Appearance is thick and syrupy black with a dark brown glass lacing head. Mouth feel is as it looks: very thick. Excellent beer.
jmarsh123 (163) - Indiana, USA - OCT 3, 2013
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Wow this beer is black! Pours a dark motor oil opaque black with a small coffee colored head that died down to a thin layer with lacing.
Smells is very unique. Lots of good citrusy/piney hops but also a lot of roasted coffee as well. Very well balanced.
As far as tatse, thereís the black again. Good citrus hops notes at the front, but in no time the roasted coffee flavor takes over finishing with a very rich coffee flavor and a little dry.
Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, but not as much as expected for the color. Carbonation level is lower than average.
Donít like it as much as the 14th, but another good annual from Stone. Iíve got a few of these and Iím looking forward to seeing how it ages.
Lorenasa (159) - Florida, USA - OCT 10, 2011
2.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
Fresh 22 oz bottle purchase at the brewery. The aroma is of hops. The tast is of chocolate and coffee bu is overpowered by grapefruity hops. Extreme bitterness ruins what coul have been a good beer.
omegamike (152) - York, North Yorkshire, ENGLAND - MAR 18, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours black with rapidly dissipating tan head. Aromas of apple, butter, some citrus aroma. Flavours are initially very sweet, apples and alcohol burn shoving its nose through. A good bitterness rounds it off. Itís very nice, not an overwhelmingly íspecialí tasting beer, but awfully drinkable and tasty.
lukeherinckx (134) - mount pleasant, South Carolina, USA - AUG 28, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
stout like color with a thick tan head. very rich malty and piney aroma. Very resinous and grassy hop flavor with a nice malty backing to it. alcohol present on the finish with a nice lingering hop bitterness. Quite tasty.
someviking (132) - old bridge, New Jersey, USA - OCT 31, 2011
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
beer pours as black as night with a small brown head that dissipates quickly. strong hop presence in the nose along with the typical dark malts making their way through. my oh my is this one delicious beer. alcohol hidden well amongst the strong hop and malt flavors itís no surprise stone makes this fairly new style very well considering the amazing stouts and IPAs they already are known for. superb beer. as it warms up the alcohol pokes through well.
Fatalstrike (130) - Cerritos, California, USA - SEP 17, 2011
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: OCT 31, 2011 Aroma - I get some definite chocolate and roasted coffee notes with the haunty hops following closely behind. Appearance - Ebony like a moonless night with a nice dark tan foam head. Taste - Not what I was expecting! I was thinking this would be a bigger version of the 11th/Self Righteous, but I was in for a shock. This is a full on stout when it comes to dark malt. Rich coffee and chocolate flavors up front. But wait for that awesome wave of hops at the end. Amazing. Palate - Full on assault of dark malts and piney hops weaving together. Thick and juciy. Overall - Pretty much a Russian stout with an insane hop profile. This is awesome. My favorite stone anniv. release since the 10th. Buy a few, drink one, and age the rest!
scottyshades (130) - Parkland, Florida, Florida, USA - SEP 20, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler from Greenville Beer Exchange
A: Pours and looks like a stout...opaque pitch black color with a beautiful dark brown head. Retention is awesome
S: Wow...seriously was not expecting this. Super west coast hop profile- resinous and piney, but really bright and fresh. All this accompanied by chocolatey malt. Really impressive considering that I am not a huge black IPA guy
T: Again, big time west coast bitterness, resin, and pine. Real big. Slightly bready and chocolatey as well. I like the balance. Why so much alcohol though??? It really cuts into the flavor and drinkability- a big flaw in an otherwise worldclass beer
MF/O: pretty rough on the palate but honestly I donít mind. Strong resinous and bitter finish-palate wrecker
Notes: honestly, I thought these ratings would be a little inflated, considering Iím not a big fan of black IPAs, but this sets the benchmark for the style. Very impressive
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