Stone 16th Anniversary Imperial IPA

Even for American's, Greg Koch and the huge team at Stone Brewing Co. make seriously full on, uncompromising beers. It's what they're known for and something which they have valiantly held onto despite increased competition from around the US.

So with their 16th Anniversary beer you'd assume they'd go big, and on paper they did, producing a big American Double IPA at 10% abv and 85 IBU, but this Stone also has a lightness of touch that is rarely strived for and even less often achieved by a beer of this heft. There's just loads going on and not all of it is whacking you over the head as many Stone beers do, you actually have to look for it this time.

The aroma is big sweet hard candy barley wine, candy sugar and citrusy lemon balm (I later found out there is Lemon verbena in the brew).

The flavour is much cleaner and zestier than I expected. It's sweet, smooth and resinous with a fully bitter yet not punishing finish. Lots of pine resin, bitter orange, grapefruit jam, a touch of floral lychee and a peppery bitterness in the aftertaste.

I was expecting a sucker punch, as is the Stone mould, but this is much sneaker than that. You could easily drink a few halfs. I imagine as it warms that abv will make itself ever more known, but I can't leave the glass alone long enough to give it a chance and my half is gone in a matter of minutes. It also has to be said that serving this cold on keg is the only way to go, it'd be marmalade on cask and the bottles just don't seem to get over to us fast enough to be fresh.


A stunningly balanced beer, from Stone!?



  1. This has been my experience time and again: Stone make really well-crafted balanced beers, not blustering hop bombs.

  2. Had this last Wednesday. I got Bacchanalia in Cambridge to reserve me one of their last two bottles... the issue is that we were going to a gig so I wouldn't get it past security. We drank it out of plastic cups right outside the venue.

    It was still absolutely beautiful.