Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stone Levitation Ale


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
It’s almost impossible to get fresh Stone beers here in the Northeast, so this review may not be entirely fair. You see, Stone Levitation Ale is an attempt at making a sessionable beer that is truly hoppy and robust, but without the density of an IPA as this beer only weighs in at 4.4% ABV. I’ve bought this beer several times for different stores and every time I bought it, the bottles were well past their expiration dates. The bottle used for this review was over two months past the freshness date on the bottle.

I poured a 12oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Looks like iced tea with a slightly muddy light brown/mahogany color. It forms a fairly generous head which is off-white and foamy. Fortunately, it still maintains retention very well and does leave nice lacing.

Smell: Noticeable tangerine and grapefruit with a light pine fragrance. There’s also a slight aroma of black or green tea leaves (although the beer is not brewed with them). The aroma is initially quite strong and indicative of a pale ale or IPA, but weakens dramatically as I drink on.

Taste: Much like the appearance and smell, Stone Levitation Ale actually does taste a little like iced tea - but hoppy iced tea, that is. This is certainly a unique flavor as there’s a malty, cracker-like backbone to this beer with a general hop bitterness propping it up. However, the hops don’t have a pine or citrus flavor here, they’re just bitter and dry. The body on this beer is quite short as I can literally taste a watery sensation while it’s in my mouth. There is a touch of tea-like sweetness, but again, it’s extremely mild and watery.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery with a slightly drying sensation as the hops linger for a moment or two before fading away.

Drinkability: This might be the most drinkable beer Stone makes and since it’s a deliberately light beer (the name is clearly a highbrow pun of the macro term "lite") it goes down very smooth and can be consumed in fairly large quantities considering it’s only 4.4% ABV.

Overall, this is truly an "IPA Lite", but intentionally so which makes it understandable. And while I am genuinely impressed by its strong hop presence, I’m still a little disappointed with each swig that there’s not enough body to make it truly enjoyable, instead of being a quality novelty beer.

Grade: 6/10

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