249. Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

Found this bottle of Stone’s 14th Anniversary IPA in my local IGA of all places. They have a decent selection of Stone, Rogue, Allagash and a few other bombers but apparently do not sell many of them. This beer was released in June of 2010 and since then Stone has released their 15th anniversary and must be prepping the 16th anniversary versions. I was a bit skeptical with a nearly two year old IPA but figured I would give it a shot.
The color is beautiful cloudy yellow with a very solid white head. Lots of different aromas with nothing really standing out over the rest; certainly some citrus and pine hops, something sweet and earthy in there as well. So far it appears the beer has held up well.
I did not try this beer fresh so I have nothing to compare it to but I think the hop taste has probably faded a bit over the years. There is still a fair amount of hop bite here but there is also a sweetness that may not have been there when it was brewed. Ends with some grapefruit flavors that linger. Overall this was better than I had hoped and I may just grab another bottle to age for a couple more years to see how it holds up.

Pros: Appearance
Cons: Not as hoppy as I had hoped
Alcohol Content: 8.9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating:  ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Stone
Brewers Description: We went to England this past spring as self-styled “IPA Hunters” on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history of India Pale Ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year old brewer’s logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: we make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it.

This one however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the “Burtonised” water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all British ingredients to brew our “Emperial” IPA.* While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes?

In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex, and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present, and future?

*Um, except for our filtered Colorado River water, of course

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