Stone brews a special IPA for their anniversary each year, and this year, their 20th, it’s Citracado IPA, an Imperial IPA brewed with citra hops and avocado flower honey. Like all Stone beers, the hops are important. This one is one of the hop bombs, so if you like Ruination, this might be for you. The nose is floral and citrusy, with orange and grapefruit notes. The middle has a ton of lemon and grapefruit, and sweetness from the honey over a big malty backbone that give it weight. It fades to grapefruit rind and pine bitterness in the finish, and is never subtle. The body is heavy and the alcohol is 9.0% ABV. This is a special beer, brewed for a special occasion, and it more than does it justice. This is an outstanding beer.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
A double IPA from Triple C Brewing in Charlotte, Baby Maker is an American Imperial IPA. The head is light and fluffy and voluminous. The nose is lemon and pine. The middle is sublimely hoppy with orange, lemon, and grassy notes. The malt comes through in the finish as sweet, sticky bread dough, but still balanced by pine and citrus. The body is medium, and the alcohol is 8.5% ABV. A really nice Imperial IPA, and one I’ll definitely be drinking again.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
A good vigorous head. A lot of orange and some floral notes in the nose. Well balanced middle with some pine, orange and grapefruit. Pepper and lemon in the finish. Medium body and very precise 6.43% ABV. A really delicious IPA.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Grapefruit Sculpin is a variation on Ballast Point’s sublime Sculpin IPA, with the grapefruit turned up a notch or ten. The grapefruit is definitely the signature note here, and while not overpowering, is in evidence throughout. The nose has the essence of grapefruit oils, along with some lemon and floral notes. The middle has tart and sweet grapefruit, fading to bitter rind and a hint of pine in the finish. Every bit as good as the original Sculpin, and because I personally love grapefruit, I might even like this one better. The body is medium and the alcohol is a nice 7.0% ABV.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
From The Unknown Brewing Company in Charlotte, Over The Edge is an American IPA. The nose is slightly floral and fruity. The middle has orange and caramel. The finish is pretty much the same, with a bit of lemon coming out as well. The body is medium and the alcohol is 6.9% ABV. It’s a fine American IPA, but pretty standard.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
For their 20th anniversary, Stone has produced a special beer, and packaged it with encores of their 5th, 10th, and 15th Anniversary IPAs. Today I’m reviewing the encore series version of the 5th Anniversary brew. In Stone Tradition, this is a hop-bomb of a west coast style IPA. Orange, mango and apricot on the nose, massive amounts of lemon and grapefruit in the middle and tons of raw pine in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is not unreasonably stiff at 8.5% ABV. I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to try the original, but the encore is still an amazingly well executed, wild example of a big west coast IPA.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Double Blaze is a Black IPA from Charlotte’s Blue Blaze Brewing, and as you can see from the picture, my local beer store stocks Blue Blaze’s wares in 64oz growlers. The head is heavy foam, and though there isn’t a lot of it, it sticks around for quite a few minutes. The strongest note in the nose is cocoa, with a bit of pine too. The middle is bitter with green pine, fading to a finish of coffee and brown sugar. The body is medium and the alcohol is a reasonable 6.1% ABV. It’s a nice base to grow from for a good bitter IPA, but still a little raw and unfinished, in my opinion.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Flesh & Blood IPA is a heavily citrus focused IPA brewed with orange peel, lemon flesh, and the juice of blood oranges. If you’re a fan of citrus beers, this is probably their king. Big orange notes in the nose, bitter and sour orange and lemon in the middle, and the sweet, sugary orange juice coming forward in the finish. It’s unique, as all of Dogfish Head Ales are, and delicious. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.5% ABV.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
The Boston Beer Company has been expanding its Rebel IPA line of hoppy west coast style IPAs, and the latest addition is this grapefruit infused version. While I love the concept, this one doesn’t quite hit home for me. There’s definitely grapefruit in the form of citrus oils in the nose. The middle is more grapefruit rind giving it a characteristic bitterness. Hops come to the fore in the finish, floral and piney. All the right ingredients are here for a a smash hit, but to me, it turned out a bit one-dimensional, and weakly, not authoritatively so. The grapefruit was mainly there to add bitterness, which it does well, but there’s so much more to extracted if one were to reach a bit deeper. The body is medium, and the alcohol is an agreeable 6.3% ABV. I really like the original Rebel IPA, and the concept here is great, but in execution, it could have been so much more than it is.
I give it a 3.2 out of 5.
The Oracle is a big American Double India Pale Ale from Bell’s Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. The nose has lemon and caramel. The middle is loaded with caramel, orange, lemon, and a bit of pine. The pine starts to come forward and assert itself in the finish, but the citrus remains. This is a fairly simple, iconic DIPA. All of what one might expect, and not a lot else. It’s tasty and well executed, and a great example of the style. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 10% ABV.
I give this a 4.5 out of 5.