Friday, January 2, 2015

Stone Delicious IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1253) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 2, 2015
Stone Delicious IPA is a bit of an odd duck. It’s not exactly a gluten-free beer, but rather a gluten-reduced one. Instead of being brewed from sorghum, this was brewed as a normal beer with barley, but through the use of an enzyme that both clarifies the body and reduces the final gluten proteins. Whether this is completely safe for a person with Celiac disease to drink I cannot say. However, for regular beer drinkers like me it most definitely is. It drinks exactly how you’d expect a high-end craft brew IPA to taste: huge hops notes, distinct malt presence, and high drinkability.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had an enjoy by date of 3/19/15 and was sent to me by the brewery (thanks, guys!).

Appearance: Crystal-clear beautiful golden/copper color; oddly no carbonation visible. Pours to a large, white, frothy head which laces and retains quite well.

Smell: Hop-forward nose of spicy/earthy notes as well as citrus pith.

Taste: I hate to be blunt, but this is an IPA from Stone friggin’ Brewing Company – how do you THINK it’s going to taste, honestly? Hop-dominated? Check. Citrusy? Check. Spicy? Check. Malt presence, but not to the point of being a truly balanced IPA? Check. This beer was brewed with Calypso, El Dorado, Lemondrop and Nugget hops, so it’s definitely a combination of raw bitterness and actual hop flavor. I really enjoy that almost oregano or pesto-like taste from the first two hops and the lemon candy flavor from the Lemondrop hops (I agree with Mitch Steele – it DOES taste like Starbust candy). Even the malt imparts some yellow lollipop flavor with a touch of vanilla on the finish. While it’s not their best IPA, this is definitely the type of brew I expect from Stone. A cynic might call it predictable but an optimist might appreciate it for the great brew that it is.

Drinkability: It’s rare that I notice the alcohol in beers below 9% ABV anymore, but in the case of Stone Delicious IPA it’s actually a vital component. Though the mouthfeel is more of a medium body with a consistent crispness, there’s a warmth from the alcohol from start to finish. It does impart a hint of vanilla flavor, though it does give the beer considerable weight. Proceed with caution. 
Grade: 8/10

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