Today I have what is sure to be an exciting brew from the fantastic brewers of Stone. Though unfortunately unavailable in my market it is easilyÂ attainableÂ a shortÂ trekÂ away in Wisconsin. For their 14th anniversary Stone decided to do what they do best and go with an IPA but this time around they decided to take a more English approach hence the Emperial moniker. Largely inspired by their trip to England to learn more about historic IPAs this Imperial IPA is likely anything but. Brewed with all English ingredients and even Burtonizing (hardening) their water. This ale is sure to be a treat.
Pours a lovely bright, yet paleÂ tangerine hue that is completely opaque. Over three fingers of tight white head are quickly produced and fades after a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing and a decent amount of residual carbonation on the surface of the brew. Smells of bright citrus hops with notes of lemon, orange and peach. Robust herbal and earthy hops play nicely with the fruit esters and malty sweetness rounds off the aroma nicely. Solid bitterness and dry alcohol are notable but not overwhelming. Flavor starts with tongue biting bitterness followed by massive herbal and earthy hop esters that are complimented by orange and other citrus esters. As you continue to drink the sweet malt slowly reduces the bitter bite but simply can not stand up to the massive hop profile leaving you with an intense bitter aftertaste. As it warms the malt starts to shine creating a greater deal of balance which is much more enjoyable. Leaving you with a nice blend of earthy, citrus and bitter hops left to play with sweet malt and surprisingly little alcohol esters. Mouthfeel is quite carbonated but dry and the body is medium. If you ignore the intense bitterness this ale is almostÂ reminiscentÂ of an well hopped Belgian Strong Golden Ale or Saison due to the serious earthy and herbal hop esters that one will often get from the yeast strains used in these styles. Even though this ale comes in at a serious 8.9% ABV it is barely evident in the flavor making this one surprisingly drinkable brew. An enjoyable ale withÂ a diverse hop profile that you don’t often see. If you enjoy herbal hops and sincere bitterness this might just be the beer for you. Not what you would expect from the across the pond, but a lovely display of some classic English hops and a nice tribute to a brewery that makes so many wonderfully hopped brews. Give it a shot and ride your bike.