Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stone IPA Review

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co. | Beer: IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale | ABV: 6.9% | IBUs: 77
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Stone IPAFirst released in 1997, Stone IPA is the company's straight-forwardly named India Pale Ale. One of the first beers in the Stone portfolio, IPA is still one of their biggest sellers. Considered a typical "West-Coast" IPA, this is one of the beers that helped define that category.

Stone describe their IPA as having "medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops." The specific hop varieties used are Columbus, Chinook, and Centennial varieties, and the beer undergoes dry-hopping. For a company known for it's focus on hops, you know this is going to be a hoppy bastard.

With big brother Ruination receiving an A+ here on PintLog, expectations are somewhat high for Stone IPA. Let's see if it can live up, shall we?

Appearance: A slightly hazy, golden-orange colored body with a finger and a half of sudsy, off-white head. Decent lacing.

Aroma: An abundance of floral, perfumy, citrusy hops right off the bat. Beyond the hops, a sweet medium malt base and a few whiffs of booze. Damn, this smells good.

Taste: Up front, tons of grapefruity, piney, and assertively bitter hops lead the charge. Underneath, a solid caramel malt backbone keeps everything relatively balanced. Bright and tasty from the first sip to the last and never too bitter for the style. The aftertaste keeps the resiny bitterness going well into your next sip.

Mouthfeel: A slightly more full than medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish. Every now and then, a hint of alcohol burn.

Drinkability: As long as you're into hops, the only thing to slow you down is the almost seven percent alcohol content.

Verdict: As I had imagined, this is essentially Ruination's (relatively) little brother. In all honesty, this IPA is a lot hoppier (and a damn sight tastier) than many brewer's Double IPAs—just what you'd expect from the boys at Stone. Well done!

Grade: A

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