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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

16th Anniversary IPA – Stone Brewing Co.



              
                Many of the Anniversary beers from Stone Brewing have been hoppy IPAs, or Double IPAs.  That shouldn’t be too surprising since Stone has a long history of brewing excellent hoppy beers.  Their 16th Anniversary IPA, brewed with lemon verbena and lemon oil, is just the latest in creative hoppy beers to come from Greg Koch, Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele.


                Released in August 2012, with the note to enjoy fresh on the bottle, I was surprised to see bottles of Stone 16th Anniversary IPA in a liquor store a couple weeks ago.  I was surprised to see bottles available in mid-October and was curious to see how it was a few months after the release date given that strong IPAs have a tendency to fade over time.


                For more information on Stone Brewing Co, check out my earlier review on Ruination 10.  On to the review:

                On Beeradvocate, Stone 16th Anniversary currently has a score of 86 and a 76 from the Bros.  Over at ratebeer it has a score of 98 overall and 92 for style.


They say:

We've been loving creating Collaboration beers with great creative brewers from all over the world these last several years-unique beers that would never have existed without the free-flowing imagination and idea generation of the collaborative process. However, when it comes to the Stone Anniversary Ales, it's all us. Yet, it is indeed still a collaboration with great creative brewers (if we do say so ourselves). We're talking about our own brewing team, of course. And while some of our beers, anniversary and otherwise, have been designed by a single person, the Stone 16th Anniversary IPA was definitely a team effort.

This year our brewing team was inspired by some exotic-ish additions of the lemony persuasion. Yes, it's a Double IPA (can you really say you're surprised?), but as we strive to do with all our Stone Anniversary Ales of the let's-take-this-IPA-in-a-new-direction variety, we've brewed up a Stone-worthy divergence from tradition. The amount of rye malt we used isn't quite enough to warrant the appellation "Rye IPA," but it still adds hints of spiciness that contrast deliciously with the tropical fruit flavors and aromas of the Amarillo and Calypso hops. Add a few European specialty malts, some lemon verbena, and three more hop varieties to the mix, and you have a highly complex brew melding both bitter and fruity hop notes with rich toasted malt character punctuated by nuances of spicy rye and subtle lemon.

Mitch's Tasting Notes
Stone 16th Anniversary IPA
ABV: 10% IBUs: 85
Appearance:
Beautiful light amber with a thick creamy tan head of foam.

Aroma:
An incredible blend of fruits: citrus, lemon, and peaches, with hints of mint and dry-roasted nutty malt flavors.

Taste:

A very clean maltiness, intense peachy/mango Amarillo hops, hints of apples and berries, finishing in a burst of fresh lemon, hop bitterness, and herbal spiciness.

Palate:
Smooth and complex malt flavors, medium body, the very slightest hint of alcohol heat, with a refreshingly bitter and citrusy finish.

Overall:
From the first time I smelled a broken leaf from a lemon verbena bush at Stone Farms, I thought its intense lemony character would be a great addition to an IPA. It truly is "more lemon than lemon." The lemon flavors combine wonderfully with the peach and tropical mango flavors from the Amarillo, and the apple and berry notes from the Calypso hops. The result is an intense, bitter and very refreshing take on a double IPA. Perfect for a Southern California summer.


I say:
                Stone 16th Anniversary pours deep gold with a thick, creamy white head that held excellent retention through the entire glass and left excellent lacing.  The aroma is very sweet and with distinct lemon and lemon verbena notes, noticeable alcohol, a hint of grapefruit hops, and subtle pear notes in the background.  Lemon verbena is one of my favorite flavors of tea, and it was refreshing to notice it in a well-brewed beer.

                The flavor was extremely complex with lemon, mango, lemon verbena, pineapple, sweet caramel malt and grapefruit with hints of booze.  16th Anniversary IPA was moderately bitter and well balanced with enough malt to round out the lemon and hop bitterness.  It has a sweet, yet dry finish a medium body and moderate carbonation.

                Stone 16th Anniversary IPA is a very good, extremely enjoyable IPA.  The addition of lemon and lemon verbena bring with them an added level of complexity that lets 16th Anniversary stand out.  I highly recommend that you pick up a bottle if you can still find it in stores because at 2 months after the release date it is still quite good and worth notice.

                That’s all for today, check back for another review yet this week.

                Happy Drinking!

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