Stone IPA is bold! So bold, in fact, that it is difficult to detect many nuances in the flavor and aroma. This is the flagship IPA for Stone Brewing in San Diego, California. It is 6.9% ABV and 71 IBU’s. It features a blend of hops including Magnum, Chinook, Centennial, Azacca, and Calypso, among others. You will be hard-pressed to find a standard line IPA that is this bold. Even as a reasonably seasoned IPA enthusiast, I found it to be a little bit challenging.
The first impression is the color which is golden and clear. Some IPA’s have a bit of a haze, but this wasn’t hazy at all. It was very effervescent, and the head was made up of large suds that stuck around.
The aroma is huge! You can smell this beer from a mile away. The first impression is citrus and pine which are very sharp. There was a slight yeasty off smell that managed to come through the wall of hop aroma, but it wasn’t unpleasant. Some tropical fruit notes like papaya came through as I continued to approach it, leaving my nose in the glass for long periods of time. I had to exhaust the pine and citrus aromas before anything else came forward. I wasn’t sure if the tropical notes were solely from the hops or if the yeast elements were coming forward. Toward the end of the initial aroma survey, I detected some vegetal, grassy components.
The flavor was much the same as the aroma. The citrus was so strong it was like eating pine needles wrapped in orange or grapefruit peels. I would recommend approaching this beer slowly, it is a sipping beer. Some very slight melon and tropical fruit flavors came through after a few more sips. It’s kind of like jumping into cold water. Once you’re in, it’s not so bad. The malt characteristics were subtle, only in comparison with the hops. I’m certain that if this beer weren’t so aggressively hopped, the maltiness would be very prominent.
The finish is super long. The hop oils coat your palate and linger just like citrus oils from eating peelings would. This beer is so big, pairing it with food could be challenging. Spicy and aggressively seasoned foods would be the only things that could stand up to this beer. I would prefer to drink it without food.