Stone had a much better head. Firestone had slightly better lacing. Stone was lighter in color; Firestone more orange. Gave both a 4.
Again, as with Founders Centennial vs. Bellís Two Hearted, the beer with more dry-hopping prevails - Firestone Walker in this case - both the blind taste tester and I agreed. However, despite the nice floral richness of FW, it also had much more piney accents this time, so I took it from a 10 to a 9. Stoneís relatively weak aroma clocked in at 7, same as ever. Itís not even as citrusy nice as Bellís - Iíd put Bellís at about 7.4 and Stone at 6.6, if we really nit-picked.
For me, slightly in favor of FW, but again I must downgrade FW compared to the last time I had it. As with the aroma, pinier than last time, and caramel malts less pronounced (though still there - CERTAINLY maltier than Stone). Mouthfeel not as good, either. Aftertaste does still linger nicely, but again, could use more citrus. 9 to 8. Taking down the palate from 5 to 3. Overall score down to 4. As for Stone - WHERE IS THE MALT!? The hops are good, more pronounced than in Bellís, but the complete lack of malt backbone here makes me rate this the least of the four (Founders Centennial, Firestone Walker Union Jack, and Bellís). Not that Bellís has much of a malt backbone, either, but itís almost completely absent in Stone, whereas itís very noticeable in especially Founders and then Union Jack. So, Stoneís hops may linger nicely, but itís SOOO one-note, and when I can choose between hoppy and malt, and hoppy one-note, I will go with the former (like Centennial - 65 IBUs to Stoneís, what, 77?).
As with last time, here is my taste testerís live commentary: http://youtu.be/P0EXaOUFOHw
These tests sure are fascinating. I still like Union Jack, but it was just not anywhere as good this time. Itís not an old batch, so I wonder if itís supposed to be more piney than caramel malts, or if I just got lucky the first time?