Stone 14 Emperial IPA

What more can I say about Stone? They are up there with Lagunitas in the perceived ability to brew about any kind of beer with an ability that transcends your average brewer. I don't know what exactly separates the guys who are really trying and miss a bunch from the guys who hit the ball out of the park almost every swing.

The beer is about as hazy as it gets with its yellow-amber color and scant head. The simple bubbles around the rim are not very much of a remaining head, and the appearance is consequently very similar to most of the wheat beers I've had rather than an IPA. The aroma is spices, oranges, and a light malt. So, also not too dissimilar from a lot of wheats.

First sip is not immediately recognizable as an IPA at all. There don't seem to be many hops in it, but the malt and spices are struggling with each other for domination. The problem is that this war is not taking any prisoners and the civilian population of my taste buds are in the line of fire. It's not terrible as a sipping beer, but it's not nice.

Tip-in is citrus and bread with gentle carbonation at the fringe. A bitterness and tartness are palpable all the way across the tongue. The middle is more grains, malt, and yeast than anything. Coriander and maybe some pears are trying to peek through, but they aren't doing that much. The finish is a nasty smash of tartness and general unpleasantness.

Bottom Line: Nope. Not their best. Try again, guys - you have the talent to make it work.



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