Monday, October 7, 2013

Stone Pale Ale

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (984) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 7, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mason jar. It had an "Enjoy by" date of 10/17/13 and cost $3.45 ($0.29 per ounce).

Appearance: Hazy dark copper hue. Pours to an average sized, off-white, sudsy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Mild aroma of earthy hops and some amber malt.

Taste: Stone Pale Ale is a beer I’ve wanted to review for a long time, but haven’t been able to since every bottle in my beer store is always way past its freshness window every time I check. I was shocked when I found one that was still within the "enjoy by" date, though I’m pretty sure the reason I find this beer underwhelming is due to the fact it’s still pretty old by San Diego standards and probably wasn’t handled well before I got a hold of it. The hops are faded, the malt is astringent and it just doesn’t taste like a pale ale. Shame.

This beer actually reminds me of an extract homebrew I’ve made (several of them, actually). It has a mild twangy astringency, not unlike scorched caramel or toffee but without the sugar. An earthy, rustic flavor of tree bark and pine needles, but without the actual hop character. There is some bitterness on the finish, but it’s mild, which is understandable considering this is just a pale ale after all. Still, there’s not a lot of flavor here to enjoy and what is here I’m not crazy about. It reminds me of a sorghum-based brew with its twangy character. It’s not horrible, but it’s just not good. If I can get it fresh perhaps I’ll re-review it, but as of now it’s a bummer.

Drinkability: While the taste to Stone Pale Ale leaves much to be desired, the delivery does not. The mouthfeel is light, crisp, wet and actually a bit refreshing for a moment. It does leave a slightly bitter aftertaste, but it’s easily overlooked. For 5.4% ABV it seems to be lacking a bit in body as this drinks and feels like something more sessionable. At $3.45 a bottle, I wouldn’t recommend sessioning this. 
Grade: 4/10