31 July 2009

Beer Review : Stone 13th Anniversary

Just got back from a ride, and I'm feeling the fact that I have been putting off the riding and working out in lieu of work. I mean, I have to do what I have to do but I haven't exactly been going out of my way to make time to ride or work out. I have been getting better about the core exercise, so I guess that's a start, but I could be doing more.

With that in mind, because it's a weekend, and because I just had an amazing beer, I will give you a beer review for the weekend. This weekend, another Stone. I feel like I've done a bunch of Stone Brewing beers, but I also think that they are very much warranted. The guys over at Stone Brewing are putting out some beers that are just blowing my freaking mind! The latest of them is Stone 13th Anniversary Ale. This is the latest in their Anniversary line, they put out one every year, and when they're gone, they're gone. This year they did a monstrous Imperial/Double Red Ale unlike any other. To start off, they used four pounds of hops per barrel in brewing this big boy, and it shows. In classic Stone fashion it's available in limited tap and across the country in 22oz bottles, which is how I had it. Let me tell you, at 9.5% you need to be ready for this beer. Check out my notes, then go to your local beverage shop, that sells craft brews, and buy one for yourself.
APPEARANCE: A dark beautiful ruby red color that borders on a rusty red. A thick, two finger tan head, that dissipates into a beautiful lacing that hugs the side of the glass gently sliding down with each drink.

AROMA: From the second you pop the cap, you smell the hops in this big Imperial Double Red Ale. The first note is a very heavy citrus, nay grapefruit, scent. I am guessing this is from the Chinook Hops in the brew, but it could also be the Centennial that are used in the dry hopping. There is also just a hint of pine in there. The beer has a smell that can only be described as resiny, (forgive me) ‘dank’ and beautiful.

FLAVOR: BIG! This beer is all about the hops, and has just a touch of an alcohol heat. The first thing I notice is the wonderful hoppy grapefruit/grapefruit rind flavor of the hops come through. There is slightest malt finish to it that is, in my mind, almost as if it were an afterthought.

PALATE: There is no doubt that this is a full-bodied beer, and definitely not for the beginner, or those into ‘fizzy yellow beers’ as Stone would say. There is a good deal of carbonation to it, which I noticed from the pour, but it is not overly carbonated. It has a slight but very noticeable heat to it, which isn’t surprising to me at 9.5%. The heat does seem to become more noticeable the further I get into the second half of the bottle, and the closer it gets to room temperature.

NOTES: I am a total hop-head. A freak for the beautiful bitterness that can only come from Humulus lupulus, the hop plant. This definitely delivers. For this special release, Stone hopped the brew at four pounds of hops per barrel, more hops per barrel than any other beer they’ve produced. As mentioned it is a big 9.5%, which you can feel. I was getting a warmth from this beer half way through the 22 oz. bottle. It is available as a limited release in 22oz. bottles, and (very) limited tap. I would love to find this on tap somewhere just for the comparison. The 13th Anniversary Ale was released 06/29/2009, and is available while supplies last, so you have to get it when you see it. I was going to buy a few to cellar, but wrote Stone after seeing a note on the label, “Do not cellar. Enjoy in 2009.” When I received word back from Stone, this is apparently because the flavor profile cannot be guaranteed to last. They did not say it, but I am willing to throw out the guess that it is due to the amount of hops they are using in the beer, and the fact that the hop character is bound to mellow over time. All this said, I will be sad when I get the last drink of the final bottle of Stone 13th Anniversary. This was yet another great brew from the guys at Stone.

Well, that's it for now. Fair warning, if you're into the beer thing, I will be going to the Stan Hywet Blues & Brews tasting next Saturday August 8, from 2:00-6:00 pm. So come Monday the 10th, I will be writing a review of the event, and likely have some fresh beer reviews in the near future. Have a great weekend, and CHEERS!

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