Sunday, July 11, 2010

376. Stone 14 Emperial IPA

More big beers from Stone, and in the case of this beer, it would appear that someone is celebrating their anniversary. I’m personally not down with getting older, as this reciprocally means that I am a year closer to my own inevitable death, but I guess if it gets me more beer then at least there is some compensation to help assuage my looming fears of my impending mortality. The Stone beers we’ve previously sampled include the Saison du Buff “collabo” with Dogfish Head and Victory, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Pale Ale, Vertical Epic 09.09.09, the Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter collabo” with Maui Brewing and Ken Schmidt, and the IRS ’05-’09 vertical tasting.

Pouring a bright hazy gold, Emperial IPA has a grainy malt nose coupled with a grapefruit and spicy citrus nose—it smells bright, clean, and eminently drinkable. In regards to the body, flavor follows the nose, opening with light maltiness coupled with grassy hop flavors. The middle has a dry biscuit malt flavor couple with a big fat chunk o’ bitterness—it is bright and tangy on the tongue, and has citrus and floral flavors that build on top of the bitterness. The finish is dry, slightly sharp, and has a fair share of lingering bitterness coupled with hop grassiness. Emperial IPA has a bright and almost slightly sharp mouthfeel that is a combination of the hop bite and the fresh tasting carbonation that is lively on the palate. Coupled with the alcohol warmth at the back of throat, the overall effect is that of a young beer, one that needs some time to mature and allow the parts to marry. There is also a fair share of hop bite on the palate, giving off a tangy and bright effect that both dries and lightens the mouthfeel, even as it leaves a slight amount of hop astringency. While the bottle tells us to consume this fresh (well, that, or “age in the hull of a seafaring vessel for a year or more”), we might be inclined to sit on this for a bit, even if it is not in the hull of our favorite seafaring (I am not sure we have a favorite seafaring vessel, let alone a seafaring vessel to use as an aging system, although we would possibly laud the very attempt). After all, pirates are cool and all, but we like beer better. That’s right, beer trumps pirates in this, and every other random make believe world. So pound one down now just so you can feel like you haven’t missed anything important, and then throw another in the basement to see what happens. Because my seafaring days are way the fuck over, and so are yours, tiger. Let’s just drink some beer and have a good time, and not feel the need to pretend we are epic seafarers.

From the Stone website: “We went to England this past spring as self-styled ‘IPA Hunters’ on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history of India Pale Ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year old brewer’s logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: we make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it. This one however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the ‘Burtonised’ water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all British ingredients to brew our ‘Emperial’ IPA. While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes? In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex, and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present, and future?”

ABV: 8.9%

You know, on second thought, maybe I like my beer better without uber-narratives...


No comments:

Post a Comment