Quick Edit: I drank this beer again, on 9/15, and it was just as good as it was a few weeks ago. If you can find one still, please buy it. It’s worth it.
Some strong beers are able to be “aged” or “cellared,” leaving them in a cool (around 55-65 degrees), dark place. This allows the strong flavors especially present in Imperial or Double IPAs, stouts, and barleywines, to mellow out and add additional flavors to the beer. Bon Apetit magazine has a great article on “How and Why To Age Beer” that breaks it down further.
This is a rare beer, only distributed to specific markets. Stone puts out a list a few weeks in advance, and this time both Maine and NH were picked. I live in a town that’s on the border of the two states, so it’s great to have this beer distributed to both.
This is absolutely a big beer. This isn’t a beer that’s meant to by chugged at frat houses and football games. This is a beer that’s designed to be savored, drank slowly. At 9.4% ABV, it doesn’t mess around. This isn’t a beer to drink on an empty stomach with minimal sleep. You want to make sure you’ve planned your drinking time for this one. It has very strong hop profile, and it lingers. Stone fruit is very evident, and it hits you with every sip and smell.
Now to my thoughts
Appearance: Clear orange, with a thick tan head. The head fades to about a 1/4 inch, leaving good lacing all through the glass.
Smell: Piney, and a distinct Simcoe hop profile. Pineapple as the beer warmed. You definitely smell the alcohol in this one
Taste: Taste is almost identical to the way it smells. The fresh hops are everywhere in the taste, and the ABV is very well hidden. The malt isn’t overly there, but it’s very well balanced.
Texture: Light, but not too thin. It’s not overly carbonated, so there not an overabundance of bubbles in your mouth.
Overall: This is an excellent beer. I recommend that every hop head gets this while thy have the chance. This is a beer that’s in very short supply. You have less than 2 weeks, after which any that’s left on store shelves goes back to Stone. I look forward to the next beer in the series. Easily a 9/10, if not higher. One of the better beers I’ve drank.