Tag Archive: Stone

Stone Mocha IPA

Stone: Mocha IPA (USA: IIPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Pale caramel. Inch of browned bubbles and froth. Clear main body and good carbonation.

Nose: Distinctly milky mocha coffee. Crushed hazelnuts. Cocoa dust. Crushed coffee beans. Choc orange.

Body: Chocolate toffee malt drink. Vanilla toffee backing. A hop feel but little hop flavour. Pine needles and resin. Chocolate limes.

Finish: Big fudge and big chocolate. Choc orange. Hop prickle and popcorn hop feel. Light neutral hop flavour. Hop oils and resin. Chocolate limes.

Conclusion: This actually reminds me of Brewdog’s blond stout Abstrakt they did, number … AB 08 I think it was. Similar concept, only, oddly, this one – despite being a self declared IPA – actually feels closer to archiving the bright coloured yet imperial stout tasting goal. Albeit this is a roasted, hopped up stout, but , since hopped stouts is a familiar enough style these days that shouldn’t disqualify it.

Very big on the coffee, very big on the chocolate on the nose – The amazingly well expressed sheer clarity and complexity of the coffee on that first contact damn near blew my socks off. The level of toffee chocolate on first sip then burned those socks to ash so I could never put them on again. Wow.

Early on it is very stout, so much so that, while I enjoyed it, a small nagging part of me felt that it did not match its declared IPA name. As time passed that worry also passed. It was still very coffee, very stout, but the hop character rose, especially in the long lasting finish. It enters life as a stout, but it leaves as an IPA.

The only flaw then is that the flavours don’t really reflect the range of an IPA, just the hop character. Ok, it does make some concessions – the character of the chocolate can tend choc orange and choc lime, which I guess may be the hops. Generally though the flavour is stout, the feel is IPA.

A minor nitpick though. In concept, in how it matches its concept, and in general quality this is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough. A mind-blowing creation.

Background: Stone Brewing. IPA. Stone Brewing. IPA. I was fairly sure we were onto a good one here. This is an odd one though, an IPA (Or in this case IIPA) made with cocoa and coffee beans. Not your standard IPA addition. Anyway this was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer selection. Drunk while listening to Killswitch Engage: Alive or Just Breathing. It seemed a nice blend of melodic and heavy metal for the time

Stone Monkey Paw Juli Goldenberg 24 Carrot Golden Ale

Stone: Monkey Paw: Juli Goldenberg: 24 Carrot Golden Ale (USA: Spice Beer: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow gold. Thin white head. Low carbonation.

Nose: Carrot. Coriander. White grapes. Dry but slightly fizzy. Dried lemon.

Body: Fizzy. Orange sherbet. Tart. Carrot. Golden syrup. Vanilla. Spicy bitterness. Dried bay leaves? Juicy grapes. Custard. Raisins. Plums. Cinnamon.

Finish: Coriander. Carrot. Vanilla. Dry ginger cake. Bitter. Dried spice. Thyme and natural mint. Orange. Raisins.

Conclusion: Ok, I’m letting this one warm a bit as I write, so my thoughts may seem to suddenly change half way through depending on what happens.

Right now, chilled down, this is interesting but really syrupy sickly sweet. There is a contrast between that and the dry spice that mixes with the bitterness to give the low end notes. So you get a real sweet high end, and real spiced low end, but it feels like it needs a stable middle to tie it together.

At this point it doesn’t quite say carrot cake to me – it is too sweet for that – I always find carrot cake to work better when slightly more mellow than that – What is grabbing me at this point is that it has a really fresh, sherbety, orange element that really kicks. It is a note of freshness that the beer really needs. The vanilla, by contrast, seems to be what is pushing it into the overly sickly sweet style. This is one of those beers where a just slightly drier base would have pushed the concept a while lot better.

Hmm, time passes, the spiciness is more notable. The body feels more balanced with slight dark fruit coming out. The vanilla is still a bit pushy but it does work better here. Dry notes are more present and the spice lasts longer. Still not really carrot cake but more satisfying as a beer.

It manages to use spice quite heavily while not being one notes. It manages to make me which for a drier beer, then makes me happy when I get it. It does need the sweet elements it has, but I really think it needs to reign itself in with the vanilla as that is the main element that hurts it. Even aside from that this is a beer that needs sharing – both the sweetness and spice ends up feel wearing by the end of a 660ml bottle

So, overall, keep it only slightly cool and you have an ok spiced ale – a tad flawed but I like that it tries something unusual even if it fails to hit that. Unusual is its best selling point.

Background: This looked like a fun one – winner of the 2015 Stone home-brew competition. It is a Belgian style golden ale made with *deep breath* carrot, cinnamon, raisins and vanilla beans. Basically an attempt to make a carrot cake beer. Which intrigued me. Grabbed at Independent Spirit. Yes. Again. Drunk while listing to Erock’s David Bowie Metal tribute. Very cool.

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