Stone has branched into experimental territory with its Stochasticity Project, and today’s review is a Belgian Quad in the Trappist style brewed with triticale grain called Quadrotriticale. The triticale is a hybrid grain that is added to give the beer the softness of wheat, and the spice of rye. To my palate the result is more wheat than rye, but there is a bit of rye bite in there and it’s nice in any case. The nose has honey and Belgian yeast. The middle is sweet, buttery, bready, with wheat and a hint of rye. The finish is rich, sweet with brown sugar, and there is a touch of astringency from a note of licorice right at the tail. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a stout 9.3% ABV, but it’s nicely masked. I’d say this is another home run for the Stochasticity Project.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
First, a note on chipotle. For those who aren’t familiar, a chipotle is a jalapeño pepper that once ripe, has been dried and smoked. Clearly the right kind of delicious little treat to add to Stone’s Smoked Porter for a extra kick. Now, I’ve had chili beer before, but this is better. The nose is malty and smoky, quite similar to regular Smoked Porter, with just a slight hint of pepper. The middle is immediately spicy, with chili oil or wasabi in front of strong chocolate notes. The pepper fades through the finish and the sweet and smoky malt flavors, still strong on chocolate take back over, with a little coffee coming in at the end. The body is light to medium weight and the alcohol is a nice moderate 5.9% ABV. The spice is strong with this one, and you should really be a fan of a little heat to enjoy it. So, if you’re the kind of person who looks for the hot sauce with every meal, this is definitely the beer for you. Really well done.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
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.
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.
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.
I suppose the name tells you all you need to know about the style. The interpretation is Stone standard, hop heavy and west coast. The nose is chocolaty and warm. The middle starts out the same, with some lovely milkiness and currant notes, then transitions to heavy bitter pine and coffee. The finish is roasted grain and fading coffee and anise. The body is quite heavy as you’d expect, and the alcohol level is equally stout at 10.6% ABV.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
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.