HopHeadinAZ (180) - Arizona, USA - SEP 7, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz bottle: Pours a deep dark brown almost black with nice finger plus of tan head. The aroma is sweet, with nice hope presence but not like a west coast IPA. I get roast, some chocolate and almost a hint of smoke. It feels really nice in you mouth, almost creamy but the finish is a little harsh with a hop bite. Great lacing as the beer drains from the glass. Unusual but a good change for Stone on this Anniversary effort.
estoppel (1028) - Buffalo, New York, USA - SEP 7, 2007
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Black body, small head, fruity hop nose. Fruity hops with chocolate notes from the malt. Hides alcohol well. Think Arrogant Bastard with chocolate. Very very good.
swoopjones (5250) - Buffalo, New York, USA - SEP 6, 2007
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz Bomber @ Coles Buffalo NY. Pours a deep dark black with nice head. Big hop aroma. Medium bodied. Nice hop flavor, smooth drinking & roasty. Good but not great. Did not seem 9% at all. Solid offering. Great looking bottle to boot
ksigty (107) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - SEP 3, 2007
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Growler from the brewery. It was worth the drive out there. Somewhat sweet but packs a heck of a punch. Lots of hops and some roasted notes. Goes down smooth and has a finish with some bite. I’ll be back for more.....
FlacoAlto (3737) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - SEP 1, 2007
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sampled September 2007
Well carbonated, even a careful pour produces a five-finger thick head in my Tulip glass. The head is a creamy light brown color and leaves spotty lacing patterns on the sides of my glass as it slowly recedes back into the beer. The beer is an opaque, almost black color that shows brilliantly clear, chocolate brown notes around the edges. As expected the aroma is quite hop focused. Dominant citrus / floral hop notes mix with pine-like / menthol-esque hop aromatics. When you dig for it, noticeable toasted malt aromatics become noticeable, but the dark malt character is certainly well masked by the hop onslaught. Interestingly enough, even up front there seems to be a noticeable chocolate character; it is extremely subtle & I almost wonder if my eyes are trying to pull a fast one on my nose. I don’t think so though, there is a slight note of chocolate that intermingles with notes of grapefruit, freshly zested tangelo skins and lychee. With time the sharper pine / menthol hop aromatics seem to fade a bit. The hops here really capture the essence of freshly zested citrus peel, I almost feel like I got to close to the grater while zesting some sweet citrus fruits and ended up with a nose full of citrus oil.
The beer is served cool at about 58ºF (14ºC), this produces an almost creamy mouthfeel up front, but of course the hop character is the most noticeable aspect here. Bracingly hoppy from the get go, towards the middle with a little malt help the sweet citrus notes become really noticeable. The finish has a bitterness that only becomes more biting & sharp the longer the beer has been gone from my mouth; almost as if the bitterness sticks harshly to my palate while the malt character melts away. The bitterness in the finish seems to be accentuated a bit by some dark malt derived acidity; in fact this is where the dark malt character seems to come into play. The dark malt flavors are drowned out by the hops. This is quite easy drinking, there is a sort of creaminess to the beer, but it is still quite quaffable if not quite light. I would not even guess this was almost 9% alcohol, as it captures the drinkability & relatively light body of a West Coast IPA. The citrus hop flavors are definitely the dominant flavor contributor here. They are not quite so over the top as the aroma was (that citrus oil character is muted a bit), but still ample notes of tangelo, ruby-red grapefruit, orange zest, and lychee are quite noticeable. As the beer warms and my palate gets used to it, subtle notes of roast coffee and chocolate start to become noticeable.
This is most definitely an IPA inspired beer; the lingering, tongue flagellating bitterness in this beer is huge. Astringent at times, bracing, palate dominating, but thoroughly enjoyable for the hop heads out there. I really hope this beer lasts longer than the 10th anniversary beer; for some reason that one had a 2 week window where it was a zesty hop bomb, but after that it became a train wreck of flavors (though I’ll have to revisit it as some have said it has mellowed recently). Anyway, if you only have one bottle drink it now, cause it is at it’s peak fresh hoppiness right now. It will be interesting to see how the dark malt character plays out; it is very subtle right now and if this was put in a blind IPA tasting (you would actually have to be blind folded though), most would have a hard time guessing this was not a typical, albeit supper hoppy IPA.
Purchased: <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Liquors, Tucson, AZ
ragesaq (70) - Arizona, USA - SEP 1, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
22oz bottle from Plaza Liquors, making the first two reviews on here from the same place!
Pours a nearly opaque very dark brown. Pours a quickly fading hefty head with good lacing.
Aroma is very intriguing and unique. The typical dry hoppy aroma with a little less citrusy factor of Stones IPAs mixed with a richly malty background.
A nice balanced flavor, mostly bitter Stone IPA married to rich complimentary roasted malts porter/stout-like character. Undertones are cloying and difficult to discern, there is a slight sweetness that may be mocha malts and black liquorice that compliment the body very well.
Mild fading aftertaste of mildly citrusy dry hops and sweetness.
A rich robust but not too thick mouthfeel, if you concentrate really hard you can sense some alcohol but it is not overly apparant. This is a nice solid beer that is very close to being a completely new style. I like.
cbkschubert (2900) - BFE, Arizona, USA - SEP 1, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 15, 2007 22 oz. bottle from Plaza Liquors - Pours a dark brown color with a one and a half finger thick tan head. Nice lacing. Has your typical IPA aromas - citrus, floral, and pine hops with only a slight hint of malt. The flavor is only slightly more balanced. The hops lead the way with a tad bit of roasted malt bringing up the rear. Palate is kinda dry with a slight bitter aftertaste. Medium body. Alcohol is noticeable, but doesn’t take anything away from the beer. Overall, a good, enjoyable beer.