Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sam Adams Harvest Saison Review

Name: Sam Adams Harvest Saison
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.0%

I recently came into possession of a Sam Adams fall seasonal pack, which just so happened to be on sale, I'm guessing to make way for the inevitable winter seasonal pack which should be arriving in the very near future; Plus I can't argue with an $8 twelve-pack! As such, I'll be taking a look at each beer in this pack, with the exception of the Octoberfest which I have already reviewed.

The first beer I'll be trying out was actually the one that grabbed my attention when I picked this up, which is their Harvest Saison. According to the label, this is a Saison brewed with oats, wheat & rye. For the record, I've never had a Saison brewed with rye, let alone a Saison from Sam Adams so I'm very eager to try this out.

Harvest Saison pours a dark hazy yellow color with some mild carbonation. The head is pretty foamy and the lacing is very abundant.

The nose starts out with Belgian yeasts and cloves before transitioning to some light malted wheat notes and slight rye spiciness. Judging from the description on the label, it's holding up true so far.

The flavor is fairly Belgian yeast forward upfront with some rye spiciness. This is followed up by some malted wheat notes, berry fruitness and light floral hoppiness. The aftertaste is a bitter hop aftertaste and light rye spiciness.

The body is moderate in weight but the carbonation is relatively light. Thankfully it goes really well with the flavor profile and helps keep everything in check

I'll admit that my expectations were that this would be good, but not great; After all, I can't seem to remember having a bad beer from Sam Adams. With that said, I was very impressed with the overall flavor and just how complex this was. I was a bit skeptical of the inclusion of rye in this beer but it actually works out quite well. If you're still able to try this out, I would highly recommend checking this out, particularly to fans of the Saison style!

Sam Adams Harvest Saison - 9.25/10

Saturday, November 29, 2014

La Trappe Isid'or Review

Name: La Trappe Isid'or
Brewed By: Brouwerij de Koningshoeven
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 7.5%

A few posts back, I expressed my desire to dedicate some more reviews to imports and what better way to do this than with a review of a Trappist Ale? For those who don't know, a Trappist beer can only be referred to as such if they are brewed by Trappist monks. Today I have a beer from Brouwerij de Koningshoeven called La Trappe Isid'or.

Now I've had many beers before but regrettably I have never had a Trappist ale before today. It's not because I was weary of the price or anything like that; It had just never crossed my mind to try it out.

Dark brown/orange color with some mild visible carbonation. The head is fairly thin in appearance and the lacing is somewhat on the sparse side.

The nose starts off with some strong candied caramel maltiness with some fairly strong booziness. Some dark fruit notes are also present in the aroma but I'm not picking up on much in terms of sheer hoppiness.

The flavor is fairly identical to the flavor. It starts out with some strong caramel maltiness and dark fruit notes before ending with a caramel malt and bitter hoppiness. It's fairly robust tasting beer and the booziness is not as strong as it was in the nose.

Bodywise, it's fairly moderate in weight and the carbonation level is between that of mild and moderate as well.

You know what? This is pretty good! It's got a nice robust flavor profile which makes for a wonderful beer. If you have access to this beer in your area, I would check it out! With this in mind, I will be definitely be seeking out more Trappist ales in the future!

La Trappe Isid'or - 9/10

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fulton The Libertine Review

Name: Fulton The Libertine
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.5%

If you're reading this right now, you're probably trying to escape the monotony that is the Thanksgiving family get together. If so, then a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Nick's Beer Blog; And by us, I mean me!

Today I've got a beer from the Fulton Brewery called The Libertine, which is an Imperial Red Ale. I'll admit that until now, I have never had an Imperial Red Ale although I have had numerous Red/Amber ales before. So I'm going into this not exactly knowing what to expect and, of course, with an open mind.

Libertine pours a hazy dark red color with some mild carbonation on the bottom of the glass, but it's hard to tell in the rest of the glass because of the haze. The head takes on a very thin khaki colored appearance and the lacing is sparse.

The nose starts off with some dark fruit notes along with some strong toffee & caramel malts and a hint of roastiness. I'm also picking up on some light floral hoppiness, but it is well masked by the maltiness.

The flavor has some dark fruitiness which are backed up by the strong caramel & toffee malts. The floral hops are also fairly light here and show up in the back of the palate. Some rye spiciness and a bit of booziness encompasses the overall flavor as well.

The body is moderately weighted with some mild carbonation. When you take into account the flavor, it matches it quite well.

The Libertine is no doubt a good beer but I'm not exactly sold on the Imperial Red Ale style. It is an interesting concept no doubt but I think the rye could be toned down to give it some more balance. As it is right now, it's good but I think the asking price is a little too steep

Fulton The Libertine - 8/10

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA Review

Name: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Style: Belgian IPA
ABV: 6.9%

Thanks to my now frequent visits down to the Twin Cities, I've been able to get my Stone Brewing fix on a fairly regular basis. Which leads us to today's beer: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, which is a their Belgian IPA. I also just realized that my past 4 reviews from Stone Brewing (including this one) have been an IPA-style beer. Next time I grab some Stone, I'll be sure it's not an IPA.

Pours a clear orange color with some mild visible carbonation. The head takes on a foamy thin white appearance and the lacing is rather abundant.

The nose has a strong grapefruit & citra hop profile upfront with some strong clove & and belgian yeast notes in the back.

The flavor has some strong Belgian yeast esters upfront which is followed by some mild banana notes. The citrus hop and grapefruit notes show themselves in the second part of the flavor but aren't quite as prominent as they are in the nose. As for the aftertaste, it's mainly a very strong bitter hoppiness and a moderate Belgian yeastiness.

The body is fairly moderate in terms of weight but it's light carbonated. It's a pretty easy beer to drink and it allows you to enjoy the flavor this beer has to offer.

While I think the flavor could use some more hops upfront, Cali-Belgique is another excellent beer from Stone Brewing and is worth checking out if you get the chance.

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA - 9/10

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Goose Island The Muddy Review

Name: Goose Island The Muddy
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0

I've got a new release from Goose Island Brewing and it's the third release that I'll be having in the "The" Series. It's the name I've given to the limited release series that Goose Island has been releasing recently. First came The Illinois, an Imperial IPA named after Frank Lloyd Wright's conceptual mile high skyscraper that would've been built in downtown Chicago. Then came The Ogden, a Tripel which is  named after William Ogden, the first mayor of Chicago.

The newest addition to the series is The Muddy, an Imperial Stout that gets it's name from Muddy Waters, who is responsible for the creation of the Chicago Blues scene, which first rose to prominence in the first half of the 20th Century. According to the bottle, this is is brewed with licorice.

The Muddy pours a pitch black color with some high visible carbonation. The head takes on a thin khaki appearance along with some sparse lacing.

The nose starts out with rather strong roastiness with chocolate malts, dark licorice and light vanilla notes. With the exception of the light vanilla, this is a very dark & roasty smelling beer and the licorice and roasted barley work in conjunction with the chocolate malts to make this possible.

Sure enough, that dark and roasty aspect carries over into the flavor. It starts out with a strong roasted barley taste which is followed up by some chocolate malts & dark licorice before being topped off with a bitter hop aftertaste.

The body is quite hefty and the carbonation is pretty moderate. It also possesses some thickness so it does feel a bit chewy.

The Muddy is a nice, dark and roasty Imperial Stout that is sure to please fans of the style. However like The Ogden before it, the asking price is a bit high when you consider that it only comes in a 4-pack, which is around $15 before taxes in my area. My advice would be to do what I did and buy a single bottle and try it out before deciding if a 4-pack is worth the price of admission.

Goose Island The Muddy - 8.5/10

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Boom Island Silvius Review

Name: Boom Island Silvius
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

Tonight I'm going to review a beer from Boom Island Brewing Company, a brewery that takes it's name from the area of Minneapolis which it is based out of. They have been open for about 3 years now and specialize in making Belgian Style Ales. At the time of writing they are available only in the Twin Cities. For this review, I've got their Silvius, which is their Belgian Pale Ale.

Silvius pours a hazy dark orange color with a moderate amount of carbonation. The head is very foamy but the lacing is sparse.

The aroma starts off with a moderate floral & citrus hop profile. The back end of the nose consists of a mildly roasty caramel malt backbone and some light Belgian yeasts.

However the flavor is surprisingly caramel malt with some fairly strong roastiness, which is followed up by some Belgian yeasts, mild citra hops and ends with a dry roasted malt finish.

The body is fairly light but the carbonation is on the moderate side, so this beer is pretty easy to drink.

Silvius is a solid Belgian Pale Ale. Were this available in my area, I would definitely be buying this regularly. For the time being, I'll have to get my fix whenever I visit Minneapolis.

Boom Island Silvius - 8.5/10

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Flat Earth Northwest Passage Review

Name: Flat Earth Northwest Passage
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

It was 3 years ago this month that I visited Flat Earth Brewing for the first time back when I was living in the Twin Cities. Prior to going there, I had only recently heard of the brewery via word of mouth as this was during a time when I was still familiarizing myself with Minnesota's craft beer scene. This was also back when Flat Earth was located at their old facility located along West 7th Street.

During my tour, I got to try out a wide variety of beers and all of them were pretty good however there was one beer that stuck out to me the most: Northwest Passage IPA, named after the Canadian shipping route that goes through the lower portion of the Arctic Circle. Now it wasn't the flavor that made it memorable but the IBUs which clocked in at 115. Back then, it had the highest IBUs of any beer that was made in the Midwest and I'm not sure if this is still the case now.

In any case, I have already reviewed a wide array of Flat Earth's beers but I've never gotten around to reviewing Northwest Passage, despite my familiarity with this beer. Let's give this beer a proper review.

Northwest Passage pours a clear darker orange color with some mild visible carbonation. The head is thin in terms of appearance but it has some good lacing and it comes across as somewhat foamy.

The aroma has a fairly strong piney hop profile upfront with a strong caramel malt base. On the back of the nose is a strong grapefruitiness and citrus hoppiness. I'm not picking up on too much

The flavor is very piney & bitter hop forward with a solid toffee & carmael maltiness before the aftertaste opens up to a very strong hop bitterness with just a touch of yeastiness. Those 115 IBUs really start to shine through particularly on the back end of the flavor.

The body is on the lighter side but the carbonation is more on the stronger side. When you consider the flavor, I would've liked the carbonation to be lighter but it's a minor gripe.

Northwest Passage will provide hopheads the hop fix that they crave. It may be a little too bitter for some but I found this to be a very flavorful IPA and it's absolutely worth checking out should you get the opportunity.

Flat Earth Northwest Passage - 9/10

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier Review

Name: Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Style: Munich Helles
ABV: 4.3%

It's been a long while since I've taken a look at anything from Schlenkerla, which is a brewery based out of Germany. In fact, the last time I had anything from them was when I had their Rauchbier during the infancy stages of this blog. Now I've been given the opportunity to review another beer from this brewery, which so happens to be their Helles Lagerbier.

Before I start this beer, I want to throw out that I haven't been reviewing as many imported craft beer as I would like. Hopefully from this point forward, I can make reviewing them more of a priority.

The beer hazy yellow color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is very thin white color with no visible lacing.

The aroma has some strong smoked malts and light roastiness, followed by some yeastiness, pale malts and a light floral hoppiness. Just like their Rauchbier, it smells like a bonfire.

The flavor is quite smoky with some smoked & pale malts, lager yeasts, floral hops and a very light roastiness. The aftertaste is surprisingly dry with just a light smokiness.

The body is pretty light in terms of weight and the carbonation is just a couple notches above what I would consider to be mild, but at the same time, it's not moderate either.

Like the Rauchbier before it, Helles Lagerbier shows to be a great tasting beer that, to an extent, treads some familiar territory with the flavor. Regardless, anyone who wants an authentic German beer will no doubt find something to love about this.

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier - 8.5/10

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bauhaus Brew Labs Wonderstuff Review

Name: Bauhaus Brew Labs Wonderstuff
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%

I have one more can from Bauhaus Brew Labs that I have in my fridge, so I figured today would be a good day to review this. The beer in question is their Wonderstuff Pilsner. It's been a long while since I've reviewed any Pilsners, so what better way to break that dry spell than with a Pilsner that is local?

Wonderstuff pours a hazy yellow color with no visible carbonation. The head is very white and foamy & the lacing is suprrisngly abundant.

The aroma starts out with some prominent Pilsner malts & grassiness before settling in with some light citrus hops, and lager yeasts.

The flavor is fairly pilsner & pale malt forward with some grassiness, moderate citrus & bitter hops and ends with a lager yeast and bitter hop aftertaste.

The body is light but the carbonation starts to pick up and ends up being moderate. The body as a whole feels nice, crisp, and refreshing.

Pilsners aren't usually the first goto style for myself, but I enjoyed Wonderstuff alot more than I thought I would! After having a few of their offerings, I'm really excited to see what else this brewery will have to offer beer drinkers in the near future.

Bauhaus Brew Labs Wonderstuff - 8.5/10

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bauhaus Brew Labs Wagon Party Review

Name: Bauhaus Brewlabs Wagon Party
Style: California Common
ABV: 5.4%

It's time to check out a couple more new offerings from Bauhaus Brew Labs, which opened for business this past summer in Minneapolis and is currently one of the newest breweries in Minnesota. For this review I have their Wagon Party, which is their California Common (Steam Beer). According to the brewery, it is listed as one of their year round offerings. Good news for me because the local California Common style lager(s) are strictly seasonals

Wagon Party pours a hazy orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is pretty frothy and the lacing is abundant.

The nose has a nice floral hoppiness upfront with a solid toffee pale & maltiness with some lager yeasts on the end. A little more complex than what I'm used to seeing in this style of beer.

Flavor-wise, it's got some floral hops with some citra-hops hanging on the backend of the hop profile. There's also some nice light toffee malts but the pale malts are a little more prevalent. The back end of the flavor is mainly lager yeasts, light citrus hops and pale malts.

The body is pretty light both in terms of body, carbonation, and overall thickness. It goes without saying that this is very easy to drink.

Wagon Party is another solid offering from Bauhaus Brew Labs. Much like Sky-Five, it's got a great taste and a decent price to back it up. Be sure to check it out if you're ever in the area!

Bauhaus Brew Labs Wagon Party - 8.5/10

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA Review

Name: Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA 
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

Tonight I'm trying out my very first South Dakota beer, which would be Crow Peak Brewing's 11th Hour IPA. Crow Peak Brewing is based out of Spearfish, SD. I'll admit that when I think of South Dakota, the first thing that pops into my head is not craft beer, but I've heard about this brewery a few times from my cousin, who travels to South Dakota on a regular basis to visit his wife's family so I'm very eager to try this out!

11th Hour IPA pours a very clear orange color with no visible carbonation to speak of. The head is on the foamier side and the lacing is plentiful.

The nose starts off with a strong floral hoppiness that is followed up with an equally strong citrus hop profile. The back end of the aroma is a nice toffee and caramel malt sweetness.

With the flavor, it's fairly identical to the nose. You have a hop profile upfront which is a blend of floral and citrus hops with a toffee malt and light apricot finish.

The palate is pretty moderate both in terms of weight and carbonation. It's what you would expect out of an IPA: Not too light nor is is too heavy but just right.

11th Hour doesn't do anything I haven't already seen with an IPA but it is certainly drinkable and very flavorful at that. After having this, I'm very eager to see what else Crow Peak has in store for craft beer drinkers out there!

Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA - 8.5/10

Thursday, November 6, 2014

South Shore Nut Brown Ale Review

Name: South Shore Nut Brown Ale
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.25%

It's been a while since I've taken a look at anything from South Shore Brewery. My first impression of the brewery with their blonde ale was not what I would call favorable, but a few weeks ago I had today's beer on tap at Sir Ben's and was impressed with how it tasted. So I took it upon myself to seek this out in bottle form to do a proper review.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thin white head. Lacing is pretty moderate but I'm not picking up on any visible carbonation.

The nose is chocolate malt and roasted barley forward. I'm also picking up on some floral hoppiness and some toffee maltiness as well.

The flavor is chocolate and toffee malt forward with a mild floral hoppiness and some light roastiness on the back end of the flavor. As for the aftertaste, it's a blend of bitter hops and roasted barley. The palate is moderate in terms of weight and the carbonation is also fairly moderate.

Overall it's a pretty good brown ale. It's by no means a complex beer but it's a good tasting beer. I'm not sure how widely available this is, but it's worth trying out if you ever see it.

South Shore Nut Brown Ale - 8/10

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Surly SeVIIn Review: Reloaded (A look back)

Name: Surly SeVIIn
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 12.5%

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year and a half since I last looked at Surly SeVIIn when my blog was still in its infancy. I remember it being an extremely awesome beer and kicked myself for not holding onto a couple more for aging as temptation got the better of me.

Well last week as I was driving home from Applebee's with my wife, I noticed that a local liquor store was going out of business and all craft beer was on sale. So I pulled into the parking lot and headed inside while my wife waited in the car. As I was scanning the shelves for some good deals when I noticed that there were some bottles of Surly SeVIIn sitting in the cooler and without a second thought, I grabbed a few of them; Talk about luck!

With the release of Surly Eight around the corner, I've decided to visit this old favorite of mine. Needless to say, I'm excited to take another look at Surly SeVIIn after it was allowed to age in the right conditions for a year in a half. I will be comparing my original notes (in italics) from July 2013 to now.

SeVIIn pours a mildy hazy dark brown & red color with a brown head that extends to about a finger in width. There's also a moderate amount of carbonated activity going on inside the glass.

Well, not much has changed here. The color and appearance are still pretty much the same. The carbonation is still fairly active even after a year and a half of being bottled up.

The nose can be summed up into one word: Bananas. Okay that's not 100% true but the strongest aspect of the aroma is bananas which are followed by cloves, caramelized malts, and a slight citrus hoppiness; Reminds me almost of a strong hefeweizen.

That banana scent has become more secondary to the strong caramel maltiness that is apparent upfront. You can still pick up on the banana, cloves and even some rye spiciness but it's more blended together with the candied caramel malts.

Flavor-wise it's much more balanced out. Upfront you have cloves, bananas and caramel; which are followed by rye, oak, and wheat. There is a very slight boozy feel to the flavor but it pretty much blends in with the flavor so it's pretty easy to miss.

The first thing I noticed is that the rye aspect is much more aggressive, particularly on the front of the palate. Aside from that, the caramelized malts, cloves, banana-sweetness, oats, and wheat aspects are still loud and clear. The Belgian yeasts are also a bit more prominent and the booziness is actually not as strong as it was before.

The body is fairly light as well as the carbonation so it's pretty easy to drink and it allows you to enjoy the flavors in which the beer has to offer.

The palate, again, hasn't changed much if even at all. However, with the rise of the rye characteristic, it does take on a bit of a stingy quality but not enough to interfere with the overall drinking experience.

I have to say that age has been kind to Surly SeVIIn and I'm glad that I've gotten the chance to drink this again. I will definitely be hanging onto a bottle for aging purposes. With that in mind, I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Surly Eight, along with the opening of Surly's brand new destination brewery!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bell's Venus Review

Name: Bell's Venus
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 7.5%

Today I have the second beer in the Bell's Planet Series, which are a series of 7 beers based off of Gustav Holst's The Planets orchestral suite. The first one I reviewed was Mars: The Bringer of War, which was an aggressively hopped Imperial IPA, much like its musical counterpart which was aggressive as well.

The beer we are taking a look at is Venus: The Bringer of Peace, which is a Blonde Ale brewed with Apricot Juice, Honey, Cardamom (ginger) and vanilla beans. Also, I have provided the musical counterpart for this beer.

Venus pours a bright hazy orange color with a thin filmy head. The lacing retention is somewhat sparse and the visible carbonation is mild.

The aroma is somewhat of a delight. On the front end of the nose, I'm picking up on some strong ginger and vanilla notes, which are backed by some apricot & honey sweetness, and what I believe to be some citrus hoppiness.

The flavor switches it up a bit, as there is some citrus and apricot fruitiness upfront while the ginger and vanilla aspects make up the second part of the flavor before ending on with a lingering vanilla and light honey aftertaste. There's also a light coriander-like tanginess in the flavor that lingers mostly in the aftertaste

The body is pretty moderate in weight with some light carbonation, which makes this an easy drinker.

Venus matches its musical counterpart well with a complex & dazzling flavor and yet manages to come across as non-aggressive. Like the orchestral piece, it's a flavor that lingers on long after being finished. Be sure to check this out should you get the opportunity to do so.

And in case you were wondering, I did listen to the musical piece while drinking this.

Bell's Venus - 9.25/10

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tyranena Rocky's Revenge Review

Name: Tyranena Rocky's Revenge
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.75%

For the final beer of the day, I'm taking a look at Rocky's Revenge from Tyranena Brewing Company, which is based out of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. This is a brown ale of which a portion of the beer is aged in bourbon barrels.

So why the name, you may be asking? Well I did some research and I found out it's half urban legend & half inside joke. According to local legend, Rocky is a Loch Ness Monster-like inhabitant of Rock Lake, which borders the town of Lake Mills. There's also something in there about Rocky being the protector of the local populace. If anyone who resides in Lake Mills happens to come across this blog, feel free to correct me to your hearts content.

Rocky's Revenge pours a dark brown color with a thin white head. Nothing really in terms of visible carbonation and the lacing is fairly sparse.

The aroma has a potent vanilla and caramel maltiness upfront. I'm also picking up on some chocolate notes along with some mild oakiness. As it warms up, the bourbon barrel-aged aspect really gains some momentum.

The flavor starts out with some roasty chocolate & caramel malts with some nice vanilla and oaky notes. There's also some mild floral hoppiness but it's eclipsed by the rest of the flavor profile.

The body is moderately weighted along with the carbonation, which is also moderate and gives the flavor a bit more depth.

My only complaint about this beer is that it's not completely barrel aged; I can only imagine how it taste if it were so. Perhaps as a limited release beer maybe? For the time being, it's still an excellent brown ale and worthy of your attention.

Tyranena Rocky's Revenge - 9/10

Summit Red Horizon IPA Review

Name: Summit Red Horizon IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7%

It's time to take a look at Summit Brewing's Red Horizon IPA......wait a minute, I've had this before! Well, I've technically had this before when it was called Red Horizon Ale. Since my review last year, Red Horizon has leveled up to become an IPA and Summit has done so by changing up the recipe with the addition of Mosaic Hops and changing up the malts used in the brewing process. Personally I would've considered it an IPA before since I considered the rendition to be hoppy enough to be classified as such.

Red Horizon pours a fairly hazy red with a thin off-white/red head. Not really picking up anything in terms of carbonation and the lacing is rather sparse.

The aroma is surprisingly fruity upfront thanks in part to the mosaic hops used. I'm also getting some light piney hops and a strong toffee & caramel malt base. Even before tasting, I'm already seeing the difference compared to before.

Flavor-wise, the mosaic hops are front and center again with some strong citrus and passion fruit notes, which are backed up a solid strong toffee & caramel malt backbone with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The palate is on the heavier side in terms of weight and the carbonation is fairly light. Interestingly, there is some slight thickness in here which wasn't present before when it went by its previous name.

Thanks to the tweaks to the recipe, Summit took an already great beer and made it better. The hop & malt profile are more robust and complex than before, yet it's still nicely balanced. It's also somewhat of a consolidation to finally be able to call this an IPA and an excellent one at that.

Summit Red Horizon IPA - 9/10

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA Review

Name: Stone 18th Anniversary IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.5%

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I managed to pick up one of the newest offerings from Stone Brewing. Every year, Stone releases an IPA to celebrate each year that they've been in business and what we have here today is their 18th Anniversary IPA. Unlike last year's release, this one does not have a fancy name like Gotterdammerung, According to Stone, they are calling this a "Brown IPA", which is not a term you see everyday.

The beer pours a dark brown color that turns to a crimson color when held up to a light. The head is thin with some abundant lacing and the visible carbonation is mild. If I didn't know better, I would say I'm looking at a Brown Ale.

The nose starts out with a strong grapefruit & piney hoppiness with some potent toffee sweetness and light roasted maltiness. The smell reminds me of chocolate orange.

The flavor starts out with a strong piney hop and grapefruit taste. The second half of the flavor is mainly toffee & chocolate malts with a strong bitter grapefruit hop & light roasty finish. As for the palate, it's fairly moderate in weight and the carbonation is fairly mild.

I like the idea of IPAs exploring unfamiliar territory and this beer does just that, because it's not too often you see IPAs with a roastier flavor profile. With that said, it didn't quite blow me away like last year's Gotterdammerung did. Even with that in mind, I would say it's still worth a look if you get the chance to do so.

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA - 8.5/10