Friday, April 16, 2010

So you think you know beer?

Brewing Company: Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Black IPA
Size: 22 fl oz.
ABV: 8.7%
IBU: 90

I love beer. I do... and when the time comes, I definitely hope to join the ranks of my fellow homebrewers so I can begin tasting the fruits of my labor. But expenses being what they are, and the space of my apartment being the on smaller side, I can't exactly set up shop yet. So in the meantime... I continue to research and appreciate.

Which brings me to yet another Stone Brew offering... the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.

I consider myself somewhat educated when it comes to beer, but I also know that I will never ever stop learning about new creations and infinite brewtastic combinations. Just the other day, I blogged about Stone and BrewDog collaborating on a Golden Stout. Crazy.

BeerAdvocate categorized this beer as a "Strong American Ale". Yes... I agree. But what does that mean really. Strong (High ABV), American (Origin), Ale (Middle of the road beer... not bitter, not hoppy, not light, not dark). BA gives this as their description:

Catch all style category for beers from 7.0 percent alcohol by volume and above. Some may even be as high as 25% abv. Characteristics will greatly vary; some have similarities to Barley-wines and Old Ales. Barrel aging is certainly not out of the question.

With the amount of combinations, you could really create several more categories within the Strong American Ale heading. I'd like to nominate a NEW category, particularly for said offering; Black IPA. When you pour this beer, it appears to be a light black or dark brown with light tan head. From sight alone your taste buds are setting up for a heavy beer - dark associates with porters, stouts, etc... But, all the things you've learned about "dark" beers will turn your mind 180 degrees. The smells from this beer have very little hints of the chocolate, coffee, and caramel. But the domination is clear once you get a noseful of grapefruit/citrus aromas, piney hops (Chinook?), and some floral.

Hellllllllllo IPA.

One of my favorite descriptions on BeerAdvocate is someone referring to the taste of this beer as a "malty fist fight". Awesome. The tastes of this beer follow that of your nose with strong citrus and piney hops. Also apparent are the creamy malts. But what's unique about this beer is that while it starts with the hoppiness that you expect from an IPA, it finishes with just the right delicate chocolate/coffee bitterness. There is also a nice carbonation factor happening here. Overall, it has a nice dryness in the end too.

A beer that pours a dark brown, smells of citrus, tastes of hoppy goodness, and finishes with light chocolate/coffee... Moral of the story, don't judge a beer by its color.

Final Grade: A-

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