Beer Review: Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

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Cheers to 20 years! To celebrate their 20th anniversary Stone brewed an IPA, like they have done so many times before for their anniversary. In addition they brought back some old favorites, a few of which I reviewed. Citracado is brewed with Citra hops and showcases avocado flower honey as well. Citracado comes in at 9% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy slightly darker amber, deep red copper color with a 1 finger head.

Nose: Pine, resin, grapefruit, orange and tangerine up front. Honey, caramel, juicy tropical fruit and citrus fruit aromas come through as well.

Taste/Mouth: This is definitely a Stone IPA and has some of its classic characteristics. It is piney, floral and has a nice amount of citrus flavors from the Citra. Good malt backbone with some caramel flavors and some honey as well. Easy to drink.

Price/Availability: The bomber itself is around $8 and also comes in the Encore series 4 pack of bombers which is around $23.

Overall: Stone can close the book on an extremely successful anniversary celebration this year as they celebrate 20 years of brewing excellence. Glad they brewed an IPA for the big 20 and although it is not their best ever it is a well done and easy to drink IPA from some of the masters of the hop. Looking forward to another 20 years of hoppy beers from Stone. Cheers.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Stone 10th Anniversary IPA

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Next from Stone’s encore series I have the 10th Anniversary IPA which comes in at a whopping 10% ABV.

Appearance: Deep reddish, copper, amber color with a 1/2 finger head which dissipates to a thin layer that sits above the beer. Decent lacing.

Nose: Caramel malt, resin, pine, woody, earthy, floral and some orange zest. You can sense some heat on the nose as well from the high ABV.

Taste/Mouth: Follows the nose closely with pine, resin, citrus, orange and is balanced out nicely by caramel malt. Some toffee and earthy notes as well. Surprisingly not a ton of heat but it is definitely there, chewy and full feel. Very balanced all the way through, good carbonation as well. It very much feels like an American Barleywine.

Price/Availability: Available in the 4 pack of bombers for Stone’s Encore series celebrating their 20th anniversary. The 4 pack was around $23.

Overall: This is a Double IPA very much bordering an American Barleywine. Pretty awesome, like the 5th anniversary, to finally get to try this beer. Stone and beer have some a long way since this, especially the Double IPA style, but this still stands the test of time as a super solid beer. The fact that Stone can bring back these beers from 10-20 years ago and they are still great is a testament to how well crafted their beers are, thanks Stone!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Stone 5th Anniversary IPA

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Obviously a little late posting these next few reviews of Stone’s encore series but as usual they were drank fresh and notes written at that time! First up is the 5th anniversary IPA, a beer I have long wanted to give a try to and one I had heard a lot about. Stone 5th Anniversary comes in at 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: Nice deep honey, copper, orange color with active carbonation and a half finger head. Great retention and nice lacing. Stone always makes a pretty beer.

Nose: Citrus, resin, west coast all the way. Caramel, orange, tangerine and piney as well. The caramel along with some fresh bread notes compliment the hoppy notes nicely. It has a classic Stone nose.

Taste/Mouth: Perfect balance of hops and malt in a brutal west coast hop bomb! A trip down IPA memory lane really as this was probably the motivation for so many brewers and beers of today. Pine, resin, earthy, floral, lemon and grapefruit dominate. Caramel, honey, bready malt for balance and a piney, dry and brutal finish on the palate. Heat is there but well hidden.

Price/Availability: This beer was brought out of retirement for Stone’s 20th anniversary as part of the encore series. It was featured in a 4 pack of bombers which ran around $23, great pricing.

Overall: What an awesome 4 pack of bombers and what an awesome beer. Such a great idea to do this encore series and so happy they decided to bring this particular beer back. If you are a hophead you really need to experience this beer as it is certainly the building blocks for a lot of today’s beers. This was probably one of the earliest examples of a Double IPA, I don’t even think the style existed at the time this was first brewed. It is a great trip down memory lane and amazingly still holds up really well today. I loved getting to have this beer, thank you Stone.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Rushing Duck 4th Anniversary Brux IPA

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More beer from one of my favorite NY breweries and home of the infamous James the Brewery Cat, this is Brux IPA, the 4th Anniversary beer from Rushing Duck. Brux is a celebration of Rushing Duck turning 4 and a platform to show off their beloved brewery cat. Named after the unique strand of yeast Saccharomyces Bruxellensis, RD added pink peppercorn to give it an even more unique twist. Brux comes in at 7.2% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy deep orange color with a nice 1 finger head, really great lacing. James is popping out of a birthday cake on the anniversary bottle and is also featured on the canned version, what more could you ask for.

Nose: Nice floral, tropical fruit, musty, white grape, some pine resin, lime, lemon, earthy, mango, pineapple and spicy hop notes. It features Azacca, El Dorado, Mosaic, Meridian hops.

Taste/Mouth: Floral, earthy, spicy and some lemon flavors initially. There are some nice tropical and pineapple flavors as well. You get an interesting spicy peppery flavor through the middle from the pink peppercorns. It is nice and easy to drink for 7.2% ABV and feels medium with a nice bite of carbonation. Finishes pretty clean and slightly bitter.

Price/Availability: This was a one time only bottle for the breweries 4th anniversary but they have since brought it back as a canned beer which comes around every once and a while.

Overall: James!!! Cheers to 4 years of Rushing Duck beers, 4 years of some damn good beers I might add. This was an interesting one, but one I enjoyed it quite a bit. Definitely great depth of flavor that kept me interested all the way through. The Saccharomyces Bruxellensis strain of yeast the beer was named after, along with the pink peppercorn addition and a hop bill full of some of my favorites (El Dorado & Mosaic, hello!) this was a great way to celebrate. They have since brought this one back in cans and made it a bit more accessible by lowering the ABV to 6%. Here’s to 4 more years RD!

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Stone’s 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA

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About this time last year Stone brought us their 19th anniversary beer, an IPA called Thunderstruck (important to note that is when I drank and made notes on this beer). Now Stone has had some incredible anniversary beers and a few that were forgettable. I do prefer when they stick to IPAs (or doubles) when releasing their yearly anniversary beer. Thunderstruck features 4 Australian hops, classics Topaz and Galaxy along with newer varieties Ella and Vic Secret. Thunderstruck IPA comes in at 8.7% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy with a glowing orange color. 1 finger head with some really nice lacing and some active carbonation in the glass. Pretty classic Stone anniversary artwork.

Nose: Tropical fruit, citrus, peach, mango, pineapple and resin. Super juicy fruit notes, really a very dank and enjoyable nose. The fruit notes really come out and it is easy to grab all the different ones.

Taste/Mouth: Pine, grassy, earthy and solid hit of bitterness right up front and on the back end of the taste as well. Finishes dry and bitter, it has some malt sweetness in the middle which balances both ends of the beer nicely. The fruit flavors from the nose come through but not as strongly as I would have hoped. No heat or alcohol flavors despite the 8.7% abv.

Price/Availability: Part of the Anniversary series so it was brewed once to celebrate Stone turning 19. Great pricing as usual from Stone at around $7.

Overall: An awesome display of Aussie hop varieties, especially great to get some newer ones in there. Great juicy, tropical and citrus nose on this one was a highlight for sure, it  was also very enjoyable and easy to drink. Stone kills it with (almost) all their IPAs, this one was definitely a winner.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

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Another year, another Stone anniversary IPA! Although I will say last year I wasn’t all that impressed with the 17th Anniversary IPA I am always excited for the yearly Stone Anniversary release. This year they bring us a golden brown IPA dry hopped exclusively with El-Dorado hops, a hop I find myself enjoying quite a bit especially when used in single hop beers (ie. Flying Dogs Single Hop El-Dorado). As usual Stone had a nice big festival celebrating another successful year of brewing to coincide with the release of this beer as well. 18th Anniversary comes in at 8.5% ABV and 75 IBUs.

Appearance: Like the label describes it pour a hazy golden brown (as if brown could be golden it appears Stone has figured out how), maybe pushing a light amber. 2 finger head and some nice lacing. Really nice looking beer, a very unique color but not really the right color for an IPA. ALways love the etched Stone bottle artwork, the anniversary beers are always simple but very clean looking.

Nose: Huge citrus notes, mandarin, orange, lemon, grapefruit followed by the standard pine and resin notes found in most Stone IPAs. Dank fresh hop nuggets. Some malt and caramel as expected from the color. Even some floral and earthy hop notes in there, this beer hits on a lot of different points on the hop spectrum.

Taste/Mouth: Hoppy and semi dry, citrus hop balancing out with a good helping of malt. I even get like a chocolate syrup vibe at points when drinking it and caramel, like eating a rolo while drinking a Stone IPA. It is quite hot with alcohol in the beginning as well. There is a lot going on in this beer huge depth in its flavor profiles. Maybe better categorized as an Imperial Hoppy Amber or Brown Ale instead of an IPA. At the very least its probably more a Double IPA than an IPA.

Price/Availability: Price is good for being 8.5% and a limited one time only release at $9 and its Stone so the availability is as good as it gets for craft beer in the US. I will say Stone is always fair with pricing.

Overall: It’s an interesting beer for sure, Stone is always trying to push the envelope of what an IPA can be and try to break peoples IPA stereotypes. I think though unfortunately like the 17th anniversary this one is a bit of a letdown for me. I wish they would just go back to making just standard really good IPAs on their anniversary. I understand maybe it gets a bit boring but I think its what people want. I didn’t hate this beer but I’m not sure if it was available again I would seek it out. I think if it were marketed as something other than an IPA I might bump it up a grade.

Grade: C+