Monday, August 27, 2012

Stone Brewing Company - Stone 16th Anniversary IPA

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to Stone's Anniversary Party this year. Due to prior commitments, I had to forgo the festivities, which bummed me out because the 15th Anniversary Celebration was a really good time. However, missing the party didn't stop me from trying Stone's newest anniversary beer. For this round, Stone decided to brew a double IPA with the addition of rye malt, Calypso and Amarillo hops and lemon verbena. If "lemon verbena" and "Stone" sound familiar together, it's because Stone also used lemon verbena in a collaboration brew with The Bruery and Elysian that was released late last year. That wasn't an IPA though, so I was a little curious how lemon verbena would work in an IPA.

Stone 16th Anniversary IPA pours a dark, amber color. It was definitely a lot darker than I'm used to in an IPA. A huge foamy tan head formed immediately and eventually settles to a nice half-finger cap. The smell was a pretty interesting blend of ingredients. I picked up a good amount of citrus hops and tropical fruit notes along with a fragrant blast of lemon hand soap. Some green hop oils lingered in the background.

The taste opens with a lot of citrus hop oils mixed with orange zest. Some lemon and woody notes peek out for a bit before a slightly bitter finish with some toasty malt. The higher alcohol definitely shows as the mouthfeel is a bit oily, not really letting the lemon or rye out very much. In my opinion, this would be a lot more interesting if it was kicked down to a single IPA at about 6-7% ABV instead of the 10% it currently stands at. The ingredients have potential, but don't really seem to be able to get past the high ABV. This is an interesting new take on the style and very worth trying, but has absolutely nothing on Stone's 15th Anniversary.

Final Grade: B-

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 39

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