Slacking Sopor Sucks it up and Sips on Some Stone Suds

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ok... A long time ago I said I was going to do beer reviews on Wednesdays. And, well, frankly I've been slacking off majorly (and I admit that Smitty's spectacular prose is intimidating). I could have grabbed one of my notebooks and of posted one of hundreds of reviews (many of which are already posted on but I feel that I owe it to the huge readership here to at least come up with some new material! And, this WONDERFUL weather (that's not sarcasm, I'm Scottish...) has given me the urge to break into the cellar and open up some of my goodies and review them.

Today I picked Stone's 11th Anniversary Ale. This beer is 1 year old this month. It's listed on BA as a Strong Ale, which can be kind of a catch-all for something strong, and normally malty (a little more info can be found here).

This one is dark, darker than I was expecting. It looks like root beer, both when it pours and in the glass. I found a picture on flickr to help illustrate. I got three fingers worth of foamy, thick tan head that left chunky layers of lacing all the way down the glass. The head never fully went away either, leaving an eighth-inch of foam all the way down the glass. In the glass I can see some deep ruby highlights, but this brews pretty dark.

The smell is all hops, slightly fruity but mostly resinous, and strong. A foreshadow, a mere hint of what's about to come...

Wow, this is a bitter beer, in more ways than one. This is the definition of "west-coast" brewing in a bottle, over the top in every single way. The hop profile of this brew is HUGE. It starts the second the brew touches your tongue, potently bitter with a strong greasy resinous flare. In all honesty, it gets to be a little too much when it adds some honestly soapy and medicinal qualities to the mix. This beer takes balance, slaps it upside the head, drop-kicks it to the floor, kicks out the third story window and then jumps out to land and it's broken corpse. You've got to really be ready for a hop barrage to be ready for this beer. I like me some hops, but honestly this beer is too much for me, this is perhaps one of the first beers I've had that is more powerfully hoppy than chewing on some high alpha-acid hops like Columbus. The bitterness really sticks around for a long time. I think I found the malt flavor in this beer... somewhere deep down in there is a hint of roasty/burnt malt. And riding above the hop flood there are some hints of hot, fusel alcohols. Unfortunately the lasting flavor is soapy, slightly resinous, and not completely pleasant.

The body surprised me. I expected something thick, and to be honest rather sweet. This was not thick at all, in fact it was fairly thin. This made for a fairly "dry" beer too, though I have a hard time calling a beer this hoppy dry (the hop flavor lends it's own "wetness", not sweetness but it still defeats dry if you ask me).

I don't know about this one... It's a good beer, don't get me wrong. But to be honest I would not go out of my way for this one again, it was just a bit too over the top hoppy (this from a guy who like Devil Dancer). I would like to see something come of this recipe... perhaps cut the IBU in half, maybe make it about 6% abv and make it kind of an American Schwarz-ale (I've been really liking the Schwarzbiers of late).

If you can still find this one, and are about to die of hop withdrawal... this beer could easilly give you a hop overdose and kill you. Beware!


Smitty 1:35 PM  

Jesus Christ, Sopor. Remember: it's only against the law if you get caught.

Smitty 1:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
George 2:14 PM  

So sorry Sopor!

As for the Stone 11th, perhaps the bottle just didn't age well? You can still get it on tap at Stone every now and then and it's drinking wonderfully that way. But, of course, I live out here (CA) and maybe am more inured to that much hops?

Sopor 2:18 PM  

Ahh, sure. No problem. Sorry for the confusion!! I'll get that fixed...

Sopor 2:19 PM  

I think you're right George... we;re not as used to the hop-bombs out here. But even still, I like me a good hop bomb. This one just seemed to not be so gracious about it.

B Mac 2:57 PM  

Damnit, I missed the confusing update.

And if there's one thing worse than confusion, it's ignorance of confusion.

Sopor 3:25 PM  

Well B mac... if you put Smitty's first comment together with a few of my old comments... I think you'll be able to figure out what happened. If you're REALLY curious, email me and I'll tell you more

B Mac 7:10 PM  

Yeah, I figured... but I'm less perceptive than you'd think, so I wanted to be sure.

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