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Stone 14th Anniversary Imperial IPA

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IMG 19764 225x300 Stone 14th Anniversary Imperial IPA

This beer, like most beers from Stone, is larger than life.  At 8.9% ABV and with a unique flavor that screams Stone, it's worthy of representing the brewery for their 14th Anniversary.  Designed to be "consumed fresh or aged in the hull of a seafaring vessel for a year or more," it is definitely worth checking out if you are a pirate or avid IPA drinker.  So I did both -  I had one when it was first released back in June and another one a few nights ago.   Fresh, the 14th hits really hard with a very pungent  citrus hop flavor, almost as if you are drinking straight orange rinds.  When aged, the flavors in this beer really start to come together.  It still has strong citrus flavors of spicy orange zest and grapefruit but has been thinned a bit by the white malts and special yeast to yield a full bodied and well balanced ale that seems to defy the tongue with every sip.

IMG 1968 225x300 Stone 14th Anniversary Imperial IPA IMG 1969 225x300 Stone 14th Anniversary Imperial IPA

After about six months the 14th pours a very hazy light orange with a lot of head which dissipates fairly quickly.  It has a sweet and spicy citrus aroma that smells like a bouquet of orange and grapefruit.  As soon as this orange nectar hits your tongue you are assaulted with hops, from start to finish.  The pungent hops are balanced by a sharp, sweet, lightly bready middle that finishes with a lingering bitterness which makes me immediately want more.  I love the mouth-feel of Stone's beers, especially this one.  It is full bodied with moderate carbonation that drops off quickly.  At first all you can think about is how much hops are in this beer but after a third of a bottle you are unobtrusively reminded that you've been drinking an Imperial.  Overall this is a very controversial beer for me.  When I first cracked a bottle I needed to drink the entire thing before I could decide if I loved it or hated it.  But after some age and love from my cellar this fiery Imperial has mellowed a bit into a unique and mature IPA that I've grown to love.

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