DarkElf (3059) - La Jolla, California, USA - SEP 23, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
(Draft: Stone Brewing Days 2005 at Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel, CA) Duvel tulip glass in hand, I walk into Stuffed Sandwich for their Stone Brewing Days 3-day festival, hoping Iíd find something cool, but oh my heavens, look what Sam has on tap! I never thought Iíd see this in bottle or on draft ever again. Well, actually, Iíve never seen it before, not ever, since this came out just as I was moving out to San Diego, and I had better things on my mind at the time than beer hunting. Anyway, Sam has filled my Duvel glass right to the top, as always. I sip a bit off so that I donít spill it, and amazingly, the head builds back to the top. I get to my table and sip some more head, and sure enough, here comes the head, continuing to form, beautifully creamy, light tan in color, and just refusing to fade even in the slightest. I have to keep drinking, and only then does the head finally give in and stay at a thin layer, but it leaves a thick, dense foam on the glass for the duration of the session to remember it by. The body is fully cloudy, amber in color, and impossible to see through, even at the edges. The nose is only lightly hoppy, so clearly the hops has softened considerably, which is to be expected for a 4-year old beer. Instead, itís very earthy and woody, sweet, solidly malty, and certainly oxidized a bit. Similarly, the flavor is malty, earthy, woody, and mushroomy, but thereís also an obvious sweet fruitiness fighting through and holding its own. Itís not hoppy at all, and in fact, itís only mildly bitter, but that bitterness does show up a bit in the finish. Alcohol isnít really noticeable to me. Medium "plus" in body, but I think much of that "plus" is due to the aging. With the earthiness, this isnít a clean beer at this point, and with the mild hoppiness toward the end, the finish isnít terribly crisp either, but this is an IPA, so who could expect it to be? So clearly this beer is past its prime, and itís not the same beer it was when fresh four years ago, but unlike many other "old" non-cellarable beers Iíve tried, this is still remarkably drinkable and very enjoyable. True, I enjoy that earthy, mushroomy flavor and aroma, but because of the solid fruitiness, this beer is more than just an oxidized, earthy, mushroomy beer. Still, I have to be fair and say that this beer, four years after being brewed, isnít as amazing as it apparently was, but Iíve had no problem finishing the entire Duvel glass. As a rating buddy of mine said to me tonight, this is easily the best 4-year old IPA Iíve ever had.
JohnC (3004) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - JUN 19, 2002
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Beautiful Hoppy flavor. Itís finish isnít as clean as their Ruination, but it has more of a full mouth finish. Great beer.
asheft (2989) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 26, 2005
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
[Magnum at RBSG]
Hazy, yellowish orange with dotty lace and a bubbly white ring. Oxidized cereal grain aroma with ethanol, candy, and lemon notes. Also a touch of pine hops scent. The flavour is salty with hops yet with surprisingly low bitterness. Pumpernickel, some pine and subdued citrus. Probably aged too long. Medium body and moderate carbonation.
austinpowers (2826) - New York, New York, USA - JUN 4, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
A terrific íimperial IPAí. Hopheads and I can agree on this one. Unlike Lagunitas Maximus, this beer is very drinkable (must be the dry-hopping). OK, itís no session beer, but given the insane hop level, only the wonderful aroma gives away the care and effort that has clearly gone into this well-crafted brew.
Volgon (2763) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - APR 15, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 11, 2004 Sept 2001 bottle drank in August 2003: After almost two years in the bottle this one is going strong. Hazy orange color, thick mouthfeel with small harsh bubbles. A great bittersweet beer. While still very drinkable, I think that the second year muted the hoppy aroma and flavor a bit. Now it gets a 8/5/8/4/16. Old rating: Sept 2001 22OZ bottle drank on 4/15/02: Before the cap was all the way off I got hit with a huge pine/citrus aroma. Huge creamy head that doesn't go away. The hops totally dominate this beer, but that's OK. Why else would you drink this beer, if you didn't like piles of hops?
radiomgb (2686) - Peterborough, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 30, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Golden-orange in colour, lasting tan head, very nice lace. The aroma was of mild citrus hops, some pine, earthy, with a caramel sweetness. The flavour was of piney hops, orange citrus, malty in the middle (caramel, some light butterscotch). Bitter mouthfeel, medium body, lively carbonation. FInishes with a long lingering bitterness. This has held up fantasticly, Thanks for the beer Larry Pitonka.
TAR (2685) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - MAY 2, 2002
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Piney, hoppy, and sweet nose. Excellent stick power with beautiful tiny bubbles. cloudy and unfiltered. Bitterness hits back of the throat with warming alcohol effect. Soft mouthfeel with not as much snap I would have liked. Obviously due to it having little carbonation. Overall, a solidly made IPA and a rather complex one.
jazz88 (2669) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 12, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. A hearty amber color with a white head. Rich, full, chewy, sour, hoppy, pine, citrus and smooth middle.
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JUL 20, 2005
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
07.08.05 RBSG Orange-amber pour, sticky head. Nose is surprisingly ketchup-like, banana, spicey hops, some spruce. Thin body and very dry. Flavor is not at all what I hoped it would be. Must have been better a few years ago.
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 5, 2002
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a deep amber, beautiful beige head and fair lace. Large hop floral nose, malt under tones barely detectable. Start is malt semi-sweet, the middle moderate, the finish is hugely hops as one would expect, the high alcohol warms the tummy, also a bit dry and a long lasting hop bitter after taste. A great IPA to be sure, and I have a Stone 4th Anniversary, plus a regular stone IPA, and a íBig Daddyí, WOW, what a line up.