Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stone 11th Anniversary Ale

A black IPA, double IPA, imperial IPA.... whatever you want to call it. At 8.7% ABV, and with the amount of pine trees they cut down to use for artificial flavoring in this, I would say that probably qualifies it as a double IPA. Kidding aside, I thankfully had one cooled down in the fridge when my sister asked me Saturday afternoon what beer we would be drinking for her regular pre-USC game toast with our friend in Florida. I asked her if a black double IPA sounded good to her and the "ooooooooo" that followed indicated that was the right selection.

She tossed back her half a mugs worth in about 10 minutes but I consumed my glass (shown left) over 45 minutes, since it was poured at fridge temp. The first thing you notice is the blackness of it. Unlike a lot of porters, you don't see though it at the edges, and you don't see through it when held up to light. The head looks nice originally, a bit creamy, but dwindles pretty fast. The initial smell I get from is as it is very cold is a massive resiny pine aroma. The taste is again, lots of pine, leaving some of that resiny type bitterness in the aftermath, though I also detected just a bit of subtle sweetness as well. As it warms up you are able to notice more malt in the background, but I only slightly pick up any roasted malt character. To me, the hops just dominate so much it's hard to get past it. It is definitely opposite of the normal syrupy sweet double IPA's that dominate the market. The mouthfeel is probably one of the beer's better qualities. A really nice fine tuned and slick mouthfeel without it being too heavy- about medium bodied and fine carbonation.

This wasn't my favorite beer but it certainly wasn't bad. I had fun with the glass I drank but I wouldn't seek it out again, except that I bought a few bottles and am actually interested to see how this ages within the next year. I gave it a 3.9 on BA which is where I tend to rate good beers that don't wow me.

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