Packaging: 12 oz. bottle
BJCP Style: American IPA
Hops Variety: Magnum, Chinook, Centennial, Azacca, Calypso, Motueka,
Ella & Vic Secret (TM)
Malts Variety: 2 Row Pale Malt
Brewery: Stone Brewing – Escondido, CA
Beer Connoisseur Rating: None
Bitterness Level: Aggressive
- Would I purchase again? No
- Would I stock it? No
- Comments/Characteristics: Complex hops flavors and aromas, highly bitter and dry. Lives up to Stone Brewing’s reputation as one of the kings of highly hopped beers.
Craft beer fans everywhere are familiar with Stone Brewing out of Escondido, CA. Starting with Stone Pale Ale, the brewery has been pushing the boundaries of highly hopped and bitter beers since the mid 1990’s. While not their most bitter beer, Stone IPA certainly breaches the top of the IBU scale, clocking in at 71, for a standard IPA.
Stone IPA pours a very clear, pale gold color, quite inviting. The medium carbonation develops a fluffy white head with tiny compact bubbles which settles in within a couple of minutes. Stone uses seven varieties of hops on a backbone of two-row pale malts giving it a nice complexity of aromas; with oranges and pine being them most prominent. A very faint grainy malt aroma is present. The flavor is very hop forward with citrus (oranges) being most dominant; however, those are almost overwhelmed by the aggressive bitterness from the Magnum hops. A faint malt sweetness attempts to balance things out; but doesn’t quite do the job. The finish is long and dry with a mouth and throat coating bitterness lingering well after the liquid is gone.
IPA has come a long way since the early 1990’s. The early IPA’s (some of the ones I started out on like Harpoon) were quite approachable; however, the hops arms race has pushed the bitterness levels of IPA out further to the point were we now have Double and Triple (Imperial) IPA’s. Now, before you hopheads start to attack, Stone IPA is a fine one for the segment of beer drinkers who like their beers with big bitterness. If you are wanting more other hoppy than bitter flavors without that higher level of bitterness, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It has excellent aromas and complex hops flavors; but for most drinkers the high level of bitterness deadens the palate to those other complex hops flavors. Soooo…
Bottom line: Stone IPA is a great choice if you like your beers highly bitter. It pairs well with spicy foods that can offset the aftertaste some. If you don’t, but you still want to try an IPA, go with something like Harpoon IPA or start with an American Pale Ale first. I will also warn the uninitiated of the somewhat higher ABV (6.9%). If you are able to drink several of these in quick succession, you might find yourself wobbly kneed in a hurry!
Thanks for reading and until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!