Happy 17th Stone. This is an interesting brew. It’s got a Pilsner malt profile, with a bunch of interesting German hops, and an American attitude and style. Pilsner malt base with such hops as Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd, and Strisselspalt.
Imperial India Pale Ale. 9.5% ABV. 102 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Dark golden color. Nice fluffy head when it’s poured, but it calms down pretty quick.
German hops maybe, but the nose is all American. Heavy hop aroma that’s fairly earthy and floral. Some light fruits show up here, but I’m getting this really great tobacco component.
Mouthfeel is actually pretty light for this kind of beer. Probably a little too easy-drinking.
Interesting flavors on this beer. Earthy and floral with the hops. A little bit less fruit than on the nose. bitterness is there, but decent balance for the style. I’m drinking this beer room temp, and I do get just a bit of alcohol, but you really got to look for it.
This is what Stone does best, and this is no exception. This is a beer to buy. 91 points.
Coconut IPA? I can dig it. This beer features 280 pounds of coconuts and some interesting hop selections.
American India Pale Ale. 7.7% ABV. 90 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Light orange color. Decent head and lacing, but a bit thinner than I come to expect from an (D)IPA
Well, it mostly smells like a regular DIPA. Citrusy, bit of pine. There is a hint of something that I’d describe as weird. I guess that’s the coconut, but it’s not really coconut-y. Bit of sweetness, as well.
Mouthfeel is nice. Medium body, medium carbonation.
Tropical fruit hit the palate initially, followed by a bit of pine and earth, finishes on a crisp sweetness and considerable bitterness.
It’s a fine beer, but I’d never guess coconut was involved. 88 points.
Well this is interesting. This imperial stout is a collaboration between Greg Koch (Stone), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek dude and general geek), and Drew Curtis (Fark.com). And it’s huge: 13% ABV. This beer also features pecans, wheat and rye malt and a quarter of it is aged in Bourbon barrels. Let’s give it a taste.
Imperial Stout. 13.0% ABV. 65 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Really, really dark brown color, so let’s say black. Dark tan head.
Holy booze. Booze, wet rocks, hint of chocolate. Slightly nutty and vanilla component on there too.
Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy.
Chocolate covered nuts, booze, vanilla, bourbon, vanilla, booze.
I shouldn’t be breathing near any flame. It’s rich and complex, but just way too over-the-top for it to be enjoyable on my palate. I might have gone crazy for this a couple years ago, but I just don’t see the point today. Perhaps age will help, or it just might turn into soy sauce. 89 points.
Originally released in 2012 to celebrate Ruination’s tenth anniversary, the RuinTen will now be released annually. This beer is essentially a bigger, badder version of the Ruination, with 10.8% ABV and 5 pounds of a 50/50 blend of Centennial and Citra in each barrel.
Imperial India Pale Ale. 10.8% ABV. 110 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Copper color with a beautiful fluffy head. Small streams of carbonation appear through the murky beer.
I can already smell the beer and I’ve only just poured it. Huge nose with just a ton of pine and earth with orange and lemon zest. Hints of black pepper, honey and even a little floral peddle thing going on.
The carbonation really cuts through the body, thank god. Otherwise, this is syrup. Hop syrup. Delicious.
Incredibly complex. Pine, orange peel, lemon, black pepper, vanilla, and earth. This beer will destroy your palate….but, it does have some malt backbone here. Just enough to make it drinkable, and give it just a bit of a sweet kick. The finish is along the lines of orange flavored charcoal.
Make no mistake, this will destroy your palate for quite awhile. That being said, it’s got some beautiful complexity and is the most stand-out IPA I’ve had in some time. 92 points.
This month’s Beer Club is brought to you by the Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/India Black Ale/American Black Ale or whatever else you want to call it. Regardless of the name, there was some kick-ass beer in this tasting. I actually designed the order by using the average of review scores. I used my own scores, BA, and RB.
To begin the tasting, we actually started with my homebrew. It gushed, and went back into the fridge. Oops.
The Laughing Dog Dogzilla might be my first beer from Idaho. I really don’t have much to say about that beer. I’m glad it was at the beginning of the tasting.
Next up was the 21st Amendment Back in Black. I actually like this beer. It’s not over-the-top with the hops and had a nice balanced flavor with quite a bit of caramel.
The Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA was a new one for me. It’s brewed as a lager. It was oddly sweet and oddly obnoxious.
One of my favorites of the tasting was the Alaskan Black IPA. Theirs isn’t real hoppy, but man, it’s a tasty beer. I’ve been a fan in the past and it held up well in the tasting.
My friend actually brought a beer for us to try, which was the Beer Valley Half Mast. I stuck it into the tasting here, and have no idea what the ratings are on it. I thought this one was a pretty good example of the style.
Another beer that I’ve been a fan of in the past, was the Oakshire O’Dark:30. Gave it a 90 on this blog and I still liked it.
We had the Widmer Pitch Black after. Nothing of note about this beer. Tasted like water to me.
Our only Washington competitor was the Fish Swordfish out of Olympia. I gave this one a pretty high rating, and enjoyed it in the tasting. It was a bit more aggressive than the others we’d have at that point.
You can’t do black IPAs without one of the greats: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous. Probably the most aggressive beer, but the balance is fantastic. It’s what you’d come to expect from Stone.
Probably my favorite Black IPA is the Seccession by HUB. I still love this beer. It’s the perfect marriage of piney and citrus with the chocolate. My favorite.
This tasting was the first chance that I got to try the Wookey Jack from Firestone Walker. I guess there is a reason it’s the most highly rated beer in the tasting. Exquisite balance. It’s a beer I need to review on it’s own.
That’s it folks. It was a fantastic tasting and more user friendly than I thought it would be. Some folks just don’t enjoy the hops…yet. Next month hefeweizens at a lake house. Jealous?
This is a tasting that was long requested by a club member and she finally got her wish.
We started the evening off by tasting the last two vintages of Stone Old Guardian. Some liked the rounded flavor of last years, while others preferred the more aggressive and sweet tasting fresh version.
Avery’s Hog Heaven was decent, but relatively forgettable.
The Bridgeport Old Knucklehead was a favorite. It has a nice bit of oak, but not overwhelming. I personally thought the oak in this beer was perfect and had better balance than some of the others.
I was really excited to try the 2011 Ninkasi Critical Hit. I love Ninkasi and this was no exception.
The 2012 Rogue Old Crustacean was next and was one of my favorites. It was well-rounded and balanced, lacking the aggression of some.
The clear favorite of the night was the Firestone Walker Sucaba. One club member said it may be his favorite beer ever. I personally found the oak to be a bit too over-the-top, but otherwise an amazing beer.
We ended on the biggest beer of the night. The Midnight Sun Arctic Devil weighs in close to 14%. It was definitely on the aggressive side, but delicious none-the-less.
Thanks to the happy couple for hosting our loud-asses.
This is the final release in the vertical epic series. This Belgian Dark features a spice addition that appears to be Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice. Let’s see how it goes.
Belgian Strong Dark Ale. 9.0% ABV. California. Limited Release.
Dark brown to black. Barely any head on this beer, but a little bit of a dark tan head appears when poured vigorously.
Hint of spices. It’s a bit christmas-y if that makes sense. Got some allspice, cinnamon, clove kinda thing going on.
Mouthfeel is actually fairly heavily carbonated. Decent body though.
The first thing that jumps out to me is the spices, but also a surprisingly amount of roast. The roast flavor actually over-powers this beer. The spices are alright, not over-the-top. A hint of alcohol on the finish.
I’m pretty meh on this beer. I find it fairly off balanced and boring. Maybe it’ll get better with age? 83 points.
This Beer Club was a blast. It was a smaller than usual turnout, but with a couple newbies. Hopefully, we didn’t scare them off. We did drink A LOT of beer that night. Of course, I could have had more if I had a better head count. Yes, I will be rubbing that in their faces for a long time coming. I gotta say, I put together a pretty awesome tasting, so let’s get into it.
The first beer that we started with, as usual, was my own homebrew. It was more of a single IPA than a double, but it was tasty. People seemed to enjoy it, or they were just nice.
I had to pull a favor to get the Pliny. My friends now have street cred in the beer world. What else can I say about Pliny? It’s delicious, balanced, complex, oh and delicious.
Stone Ruination was up next and one of my favorite Double IPAs. Despite the name, it doesn’t destroy your palate and is actually the lowest in ABV out of the bunch, weighing in at 7.7%.
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid is another one of my favorites. It’s an ode to all your favorite citrusy hops. Again, it’s aggressive, but well balanced.
One of the biggest surprises of the night for me was the Sound Humulo Nimbus. I love this brewery, but it was a strange beer in the tasting as it wasn’t nearly as hoppy as the previous beers. Much more of the malt coming through on this one.
The second Washington beer in the tasting was the Silver City Whoop Pass. This definitely had the aggressive hop profile going on and was quite tasty in this lineup.
I wanted a couple East Coast offerings as a juxtaposition to the heavy West Coast showing. I’ve hated this beer in the past, and it wasn’t a favorite at the tasting. It’s over-the-top and lacks the balance of the other beers. It was also more carbonated than the other ones, which was surprising.
The biggest contrast was the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. This beer was all malt compared to the others. It just doesn’t have that punch and comes across with a dark malt profile. I got lots of chocolate and caramel on this beer.
The Firestone Double Jack became a favorite of mine in the tasting. Great hop profile, great balance, really delicious beer.
I think everyone was surprised by these beers. I know the IPA is a hard beer to get into, but with those big malt bodies to balance the hops, people found them much more enjoyable than the dry American IPAs from a previous tasting. That’s what I hope to accomplish at Beer Club. I believe it was fairly eye-opening and palate expanding for those who attended. Belgian Quads next month!
So there was a lot of demand to do pumpkin beers for Beer Club. Since I had already planned out the next few months, we decided to go ahead and just have a Halloween party with pumpkin beers. It was a blast (the next day wasn’t so fun). The costumes were pretty great even though many of us are generally unenthusiastic people. The best costume, of course, was David being me. He pulled it off pretty well, but lacked the fairly obnoxious side I have when drinking. Before I get to the tasting I wanna give some shout outs. Thanks to Tiffany and Kevin for hosting us all and decorating the place up. It was awesome! And special thanks goes to Alex for running the tasting. He picked, poured and averaged the scores for the rest of us.
The tasting consisted of the 13 beers above. Each was poured blind in a random order. I was feeling pretty confident going into the tasting, but I gotta say, I got my ass kicked. I only guessed about half of them correctly. The results below were rather surprising, but that’s why you do blind tastings.
- Elysian Night Owl
- Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Dark O’ The Moon
- Stone Collaboration La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado
- Southern Tier Pumpking
- Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale
- Pike Harlot’s Harvest
- Two Beers Pumpin Spice Ale
- Elysian The Great Pumpkin
- Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
- Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Hansel & Gretel
Pretty interesting, no? The Elysian ginger pilsner was absolutely hated. The ginger was too overpowering for everyone. The Buffalo Bill’s was expected to be near the bottom. I found it interesting that the Shock Top wasn’t liked nearly as much as the Blue Moon which showed up as number 3. Also, the fact that Sam Adams and Blue Moon made the top 3 was pretty amazing. The Night Owl apparently hit all the right places. A previous favorite of a lot of people was The Great Pumpkin which placed near the bottom. Blind tastings may become more of a regular thing at beer club. Keep in mind that tastings have a lot of bias as you are more comparing than anything else. If you changed the tasting order, I wouldn’t be surprised if the results change. Just one of those things, but it was a ton of fun.
How about a 10% ABV IPA. No other beer would be more Stone than something insanely hoppy and boozy. Luckily (I think), there’s some lemon-y stuff in here, so it won’t taste like eating my back yard.
Imperial India Pale Ale. 10.0% ABV. 85 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Burnt orange to copper in color. Lovely head.
It’s hoppy, but has a lemon and herbal quality. It smells like a salad, and in the good way. There’s even a nice black pepper component. Add an anchovy and this would be a Caesar Salad.
Mouthfeel is big. Full bodied with a medium-low carbonation. Quite the sipper.
Ridiculous amount of hops that nearly rip your face off. The lemon isn’t as pronounced on the palate as the nose. Maybe that’s because the hops are ripping my face off. That herbal quality comes through with a bit of black pepper. High bitterness, and it’s got some heat.
This is about as big of a beer as you can get. It’s saving grace is the freshness of the lemon to slightly cut the heavy pine and bitterness of the hops. It’s tasty though, so if you are in the mood for a huge Imperial IPA, give this a go. 90 points.