Tag Archives: West Coast IPA

Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

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.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

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.

Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA

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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.

Ballast Point Sculpin

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By Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, Sculpin is one of the best West Coast IPAs out there. The head is sticky and hangs around, the nose is of grapefruit, honeysuckle and floral. The middle is sharply hoppy with clean pine fading to grapefruit, then to apricot and lemon in the end. Mango and peach are also advertised notes in this brew, but I’m not getting them, at least not in this bottle. No matter though…It’s excellent as is. One of my all time favorites for sure. The body is medium-ish, and the alcohol is a respectable but not overpowering 7.0% ABV.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Stone Enjoy By 10.31.14 IPA

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It is October 31st, 2014, and so on this night traditionally dominated by fancy dress and confections, I find the time has come to enjoy my bomber of Stone’s Enjoy By 10.31.14 IPA. The “Enjoy By” series is an occasionally brewed Imperial IPA meant to be consumed fresh, thus the prominent date in the title. It, like any Stone IPA is massively hoppy and staggeringly good. The nose is packed with heavy citrus and pine. The middle laced with lemon, grapefruit, pine, and just a hint of grass and brown sugar. The finish is bitter and piney and gives the beer a profile that is reminiscent of Stone’s ultimate hop-bomb, Ruination. The body is fairly heavy and the alcohol is a hefty 9.4% ABV, but it’s actually quite subtle, buried under the intensity of the fresh hops. Another top-notch offering from Stone, and you should look for an Enjoy By if you like massively hoppy west-coast IPAs.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Stone Go To IPA

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Session IPAs are one of the new hotness categories that are popping up everywhere, and Stone’s entry into this market is To Go IPA.  In true Stone style, the cap decries light, easy-to-drink beer, so while it comes equipped with a session-style 4.5% ABV, it also has all the bold hop flavor we’ve come to expect from Stone.  The nose is bright with loads of pine needles and grapefruit.  The middle has pine resin, and grapefruit rind.  The citrus in the finish morphs into lemon and there’s a little bit of grain that tastes like wheat.  The body of this beer is light to medium as pretty much expected.  This is a fun beer, but slightly incongruous, with the lighter body but the big, bold, bitter flavors.  I liked it a lot, and it’s certainly different, but not really a lawnmower beer.

I give it a 4.2 out of 5.

 

Stone RuinTen IPA

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Since yesterday was IPA Day, I decided to celebrate it last night with the biggest, baddest IPA around. Stone’s RuinTen is an “extreme” version of their already insane Runation IPA which is an Imperial IPA designed to “ruin your palate” with over-the-top intensely bitter hops. So yeah, an extreme version of that. True to its billing, this is a big version of Ruination. I wouldn’t say that it’s any more bitter, however. It generally has the same flavor profile and intensity, but with a heavier body and more alcohol. They’ve cranked up the quantity of ingredients to get here, of course, but if any of it shows through, it’s a bit more citrus sweetness from heavy orange and grapefruit notes in the middle and finish than any additional bitterness. So overall there is a ton of pine, and a ton of grapefruit and orange, both bitter and sweet. The body is heavy, and the alcohol level is a relatively high 10.8% ABV. This is still a big, over-the-top bitter west-coast style Imperial IPA like Ruination, but if anything it’s slightly more well rounded and an excellent, excellent beer.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Total Eclipse Of The Hop

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Trust the Canadians to come up with an excellent pun for the name of an Imperial IPA of the American style. In this case, it’s the Canadians of Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company of British Columbia. The nose has faint citrus and pine, and is predominantly malty, reminding me of maple syrup. The middle packs a bitter punch of citrus rind and pine. The strong bitterness is reminiscent of Stone’s Ruination or Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. The finish is well rounded citrus flavors with some sweet grapefruit and orange to temper the bitterness. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is 8.0% ABV which is about what you’d expect for a big Imperial IPA. This is a big, tasty, bitter beer, and more proof that the Canadians know how to brew a beer properly.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Anchor IPA

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Anchor Brewing of San Francisco, CA, best known for Anchor Steam, their California Common Beer, also offers an IPA, much like every other ale brewery in the United States at this juncture in time. This is a west-coast style offering and the nose has grapefruit and orange and is slightly floral. The middle has more grapefruit and a bit of grain and pine. The finish is lemony. It’s a nice offering, flavorful and medium bodied with an alcohol content of 6.5% ABV.

I give it a 4.0 out of 5.

Stone Ruination IPA

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Ruination IPA is another classic that I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed to miss reviewing over these last few years. I’ve certainly drunk enough of it, one would have thought that I’d have managed to review it, but apparently not. Well, late is better than never, so here goes. Ruination IPA is an Imperial (or Double) IPA so named because it “ruins your palate.” And so it does. This is not a great beer to drink with a meal, because the intense bitterness will utterly overpower the flavors of any food you might be pairing it with. Even hot wings. Not regular hot wings, but the ones with names like “Fire” or “Inferno” or “Atomic.” Sure, you’ll still have the pain from the high concentration of Capsaicin, but you won’t be able to discern the flavor of the delivery device. It might have been a chicken wing, or pig’s foot, or the fist of a cop who’s shoved his pepper spray canister directly into your mouth. This beer will numb your taste buds like no other I’ve ever experienced. So does that mean it’s not good? No, by no means. In fact, it’s fantastic. This is the epitome of a West Coast Style Double IPA, bar none. This is the standard by which they should be measured. The nose is actually slightly sweet and floral. It reminds me of honeysuckle. The middle is bursting with citrus in the form of grapefruit and orange, the sugary sweet juice is there, but overpowered by the bitter rind. The finish is bready with hints of pine and a tiny bit of booziness. The body is fairly heavy, and the alcohol level is a strong but moderate 8.2% ABV. I don’t drink this beer with meals any longer, but it is one of my all time favorite brews.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.