IPA – American: Stone Enjoy By 4/20/15 IPA


This week’s beer is something I picked up whilst in California. Stone’s Enjoy By series is quickly becoming a very sought after beer, and I was happy to sample a few and bring a couple back.

Stone’s idea was to make an IPA that doesn’t really last, which means you definitely need to drink it by the “Enjoy Date.” What better way to advise people than to plaster it on the front of the bottle as part of the name? I picked up the Enjoy By 4/20/15 (20/04/15), also lovingly called “Enjoy by 420” by lover’s of Hop’s naughty cousin.

Let’s start with Stone’s Description of the beer.

You have in your hands a devastatingly dank double IPA. Freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, hoppy IPAs – but we’ve taken it further, a lot further, with this one. We brewed this IPA specifically NOT to last. We’ve gone to extensive lengths to ensure you get your hands on this beer within an extraordinarily short window, and we’ve sent a very clear message in the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right NOW to enjoy this IPA!

I’m enjoying the Stone bravado on this description and the fact they changed “fresh” to “dank” in the description. Dank is a word that’s used to describe Hops as well as the “other hop” so it’s a good play on words. As I said, the date is plastered on the front of the bottle as part of the name, and I don’t think another brewery could do it and get away with it like Stone do.

Let’s start with the Hops on this one, as there’s a lot! Centennial, Warrior, Amarillo, Northern Brewer, Simcoe, Cascade, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy are used. It seems like Stone threw their whole store of Hops at this one, excluding a couple and it definitely shows. As for the malts in this beer, we’ve got 2-Row and Maris Otter Pale. A nice basic base for a lot of hops. After this it’s Dry hopped for around 7 days whilst it ferments with a good, clean, hardy yeast like San Diego Super.

This beer pours a nice translucent Orange with a Medium white head. The retention on this one is great, especially for a 9.4% brew. When it starts to dissipate, it leaves rings around the glass as you drink down. On the nose, wow, you can really tell there’s a lot of hops in this one. Mango, Pineapple, Orange and Tropical Fruits hit first, with a touch of Pine and Sweetness from the Malt on the finish. Whilst drinking this beer, the first thing you’ll notice is the bitterness from the word go. On the Palate lots of Pine, Citrus Peel and Tropical Fruit. This is definitely an IPA for warm weather, although it could also work in the colder months as that Alcohol is detectable but not overwhelming. On the finish there’s a few Grapefruit notes and a touch of sweetness from the Malt. The beer is surprisingly smooth, and although starts bitter and dry, finishes sweet with good carbonation. If you can get your hands on this one, I really recommend you do!

Your best bet to find Stone’s Enjoy By IPA’s in the UK are in Brewdog bars across the country, you could always import from Quality Liquor Store or Craft Beer Kings if you really want it! Alternatively, if you have friends in California, ask them to send you some of the next iteration!

EST. CALORIES: 282   ABV: 9.4%

Double IPA – American: Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

This week I’m writing about a beer I had a little while ago, and may be a little hard to come by now. It definitely deserves a mention though. This Friday’s beer is Stone 18th Anniversary IPA. A beer brewed for the 18th Anniversary of the company. And, of course it’s an IPA! It’s what Stone has become known for over the years.

Let’s start with Stone‘s description of the beer.

As we compose the text for this celebratory beer‐a golden‐brown India pale ale dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops‐we stand ready to leap from the precipice of all we know into a new era for our company, our beers and, most importantly, our fans. It’s one that will see us exploring new territory, both geographically and creatively, as we evolve from pacesetters for the American craft brewing movement to cross‐planetary champions of the worldwide cause of craft, hoisting our banner to proclaim artisanal beers’ vast superiority over stripped‐down, business-driven, industrialized, fizzy, yellow mediocrity. We thank you for shadowing us for the first 18 years of our journey, and welcome you to join us for next leg and all that follows.

I won’t spoil what’s on the back of the bottle, as these are still around. Just make sure if you get one now, drink it asap! Stone’s IPA’s are never meant to last long. Quite a modest description for Stone, which I like. However, there’s still the comment about the larger brewers. It’s a good description, it celebrates their journey so far and gives you a tiny insight into the beer with the fact they use El Dorado Hops.

Let’s start with the malts in this one, 2-Row Pale, Crystal with a small amount of English Brown Malt and Briess Dark Roasted Malt. This is how it gets it’s colour and also some of the complex flavours that I will talk about a little later. As for the Hops, as it says in the description:- El Dorado Hops are used in both the boil and Dry Hop during Fermentation. El Dorado Hops are relatively new to the table, and I think it was quite brave of Stone to only use them in such a high profile offering.

When you pour this beer, it pours a Ruby colour with Golden sides and a medium white head. It really does look nice in the glass. It leaves dotty lacing on the glass as the head dissipates to a Thin Foam on the top of the beer. On the nose there’s loads of Lemon, a little Liquorice, Pine and some slight Cocoa. The way this beer looks and smells makes you want to drink it straight away, I haven’t written about a beer that looks this good in the glass for a little while! On the palate, the first thing you get is Toffee and Liquorice, followed by a big Lemony Citrus kick, ending with some bitter Orange peel and Pine. The Lemon flavour carries through the entire time, tied in with some complex coffee and toffee undertone. This beer feels quite light in the mouth, is medium carbonated and ends quite dry. What a fantastic beer, one that I wish Stone would brew again! I’d recommend it if you can get hold of one now, but in a few months it may be worth passing up.

I purchased Stone’s 18th Anniversary beer at Bottledog in Kings Cross, unfortunately I can’t find anywhere online in the UK to grab one of these. Even if you can’t this time, I’d recommend looking around August time for their 19th Anniversary beer, they’re always good!

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

Double/Imperial IPA – American: Stone RuinTen

To expand the content of this blog, I’ve decided to write about some of the harder to get (in the UK) beers I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on separate from the Friday posts.

Today’s beer is the great RuinTen IPA from one of my favorite West Coast Breweries – Stone. This beer is released once a year in June to commemorate the creation Stone’s awesome Ruination IPA. Originally released in 2012, there was such a huge demand for this beer that Stone decided to make it a Seasonal offering. It was too good to just be one of those “one off” brews.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing Co‘s online description of the beer:

We first released this decidedly indelicate beer in 2012, as Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our belovedly bitter Stone Ruination IPA. Stone RuinTen IPA uses the same recklessly hoppy recipe as the 2012 release; only the name has changed, since we’re now unleashing this belligerently delicious hop monster upon the public on an annual basis. We packed a whopping five pounds of hops into each barrel, and cranked up the ABV to stand up to the hop onslaught. The results are glorious, and we know you’ll rejoice in tasting this audacious gem of hoppy splendor once again. You’re welcome.

The description of the beer on the bottle is a little different, although has less sarcasm than some of Stone‘s other offerings. However, it definitely tells us what to expect – a hell of a lot of Hoppy flavour and a little bit of alcohol warmth.

After a little bit of research and having a look at the website, this beer uses a malt backbone of 2-Row and C15. Now for Stone’s specialty – the Hops! Stone have used a Hop blend called CTZ which stands for Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus, Centennial and Citra. The beer is also dry hopped with Citra for that extra Hoppiness. As soon as I found that out I really wanted to try this brew, as Citra is one of my favourite hops.

This beer pours Golden with a white creamy head. It dissipates quickly, which is expected for a beer that’s over 10%. It leaves a dotty lacing on the glass which is inviting and a thinner head that seems to stay throughout drinking. On the nose you’ve got some Pineapple and Tropical notes from the Citra and some Citrus and Nectarine. This beer really smells inviting, and so deceiving with an IPA over 10%! When you taste this beer, you get a wave of Pineapple, Tropical fruits, a hint of Bubblegum ending in a massive Grapefruit crescendo. The beer is medium to high carbonated and ends with a nice long, clean bitterness. On the finish I would say it’s medium sweet. I really like this beer, and honestly think it’s a contender for the much sought out Pliny the Elder I tried earlier this year.

Although I said this one is pretty hard to find, you can buy Stone RuinTen IPA at:

Brewdog Online Store

It’s currently in stock over there, so grab it whilst you can! Hopefully it’ll be back next year.

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%

Red/Amber Ale – American: Stone Levitation Ale

Unfortunately, the original picture I took got deleted and another picture of a 3D model car took it’s place. Therefore, I am using the stock picture for this post. Apologies (Edit 12/02/2015)

This weeks beer is called Levitation Ale, a Red/Amber Ale from one of my favorite brewers Stone Brewing. Although in August we had a Red/Amber Ale from Scottish Brewers Brewdog, this one is slightly different.

I find this beer is good to drink during summer, but it’s also great when the weather is starting to get colder, but more on that after the description from Stone:

We’re best known for brewing aggressive, big-character beers, but we love a great sessionable ale as much as anyone. Most beers at the less-weighty end of the spectrum lack flavor and depth as much as they lack high ABVs, but not Stone Levitation Ale! This deep amber brew has a rich maltiness, big hoppy character, citrus overtones, and an impressively modest alcohol content for a beer with so much flavor packed into it.

A short and sweet description which is very informative, and I expect nothing less from Stone. However, the description on the bottle of the beer doesn’t say this and often Stone have tongue in cheek lengthy descriptions on their bottle. Even if you don’t like beer, it’s worth buying one to read the description!

Although Stone always let you know which hops are in their beer, their CEO and Head Brewer are always hinting at the rest of the recipe. Levitation is hopped with Magnum, CrystalSimcoe and Amarillo hops. Stone always heavily hop their beers, and this no exception. The Amarillo hops in this beer are the most important part, as they give the beer it’s pineapple and citrus flavours. I think this beer is most probably Dry-Hopped with Amarillo, just for that extra kick. The malts used in this beer are Crystal, Pale Malt and a touch of Black Malt. The Crystal malt in this beer is what gives it it’s Red Colour.

This beer pours with a deep red/ruby colour which almost looks brown if there isn’t a good amount of light behind it. It has an off white coloured head and medium carbonation. This really is a very inviting looking brew. The head on the beer lasts for the majority of the time you are drinking it, which is a very nice touch. This beer smells absolutely great, lots of citrus, pine and floral aromas with some great bready malty sweet smells and a little bit of sea salt even, if you could drink a smell it would be… oh wait you can! The taste follows the smell, apart from it’s better. You get the great fruity citrus, the pine but also you get this great caramel and toffee taste from the malts used. Whilst drinking this beer, it’s so smooth in your mouth and you can tell why it was the winner of the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the American Red/Amber Ale category. At 4.4%, this beer can be enjoyed as a session beer or a one off due to the flavour.

I really recommend this beer, and it is one of my favourite beers. Great in the sun, great in the rain and great when it’s starting to get colder.

You can purchase Stone Levitation Ale in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Beautiful Beers

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 132   ABV: 4.4%

Smoked Beer – American: Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers

As the weather is turning cold, but still crisp and people are heading towards darker beers, this week I’ve picked Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. I think this beer is a great go-between between the summer sun and the Autumn months. This is a smoked porter, brewed with Chipotle Peppers. Smoked Porter is a fusion of the English Porter style and the German Rauchbier (Smoked Beer) style. Malt used in the mash is first roasted on an open flame, imparting some smokey flavours.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing‘s description of the beer:

In 2006, Chris Carroll, a longtime member of Team Stone, took that adage literally, proposing that we produce a one-off version of our venerable Stone Smoked Porter made spicy from the addition of chipotle peppers. We gave it a shot and found that those smoked jalapeños melded quite naturally with the smoldery peat-smoked malt that gives the beer its flavor and moniker, creating a deep, roasty quaff with a carefully restrained tingle of tasteful capsaicin heat in the finish. The marriage of ingredients was so nice that it has become an annual summertime staple, released each May in honor of Carroll’s initial idea that Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers serve as an artisanal alternative to the industrialized adjunct-laden cerveza billed as the perfect fluid accompaniment to the sunny season. Cheers to variety and a quality alternative to mediocrity.

A nice sarcastic style description from Stone as usual, with a little bit of a dig at Corona it seems. It’s to be expected of Stone, and this is one of the little things that separates them from the rest. Although drinking in Summer is suggested, I personally think this time of the year in the UK is perfect.

After trawling through the internet and doing some research (as well as taste research!) I think Stone went all out American for this brew, using Pale 2-row Malt, Peat-Smoked Malt (as we said earlier, but this malt was smoked with Peat like a Scotch Whiskey giving a distinctive flavour), as for the hops, although Stone have let the Chipotle Peppers and Malts sing in this one I think they’ve used Columbus and Mt. Hood. These hops give it a bitterness as well as that American hop aroma buried in there that we have all grown to love over the recent years.

When you pour this beer, you get the usual dark Porter colouring and a lovely tan head. The head has great retention… maybe there’s wheat in this beer but I’m not sure! You can’t smell this beer until you first put it to your mouth, you get a lovely amount of sweet malts, a little cigar smoke and a hit of spicy Chipotle peppers. With the taste, first you get a nice smokey kick from the peated malt, next the sweet portion of the chilli peppers, some fruity flavours brought on from the hops and the peppers and finally the heat. Initially it’s strange having a bit of Chilli heat in a beer, but once you get used to it it’s actually a great addition to this already great porter. The mouthfeel is silky, smooth and finishes sweet and spicy. Once you’ve got over the heat from the peppers, you’ll notice all the subtle flavours from them. I appreciate this beer probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s great on a cool, crisp afternoon to remind you of summer past.

You can buy Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers in the UK at:

Bottledog Kings Cross (The only place I’ve found it!)

If any of your friends are traveling to America, I seriously recommend you ask them to hunt this beer down for you.

Unfortunately, Stone do not distribute properly to the UK at the moment, but for anyone that would like to stock their beers I’d contact Beers Of Europe as they usually have a great selection.

EST. CALORIES: 177   ABV: 5.9%