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: Pipeworks Grungeist Imperial IPA

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New ninja alert! Grungeist comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Cloudy copper orange color with a 1 finger head. Sticky lacing and a head that dissipates to a thin layer. Typical ninja art.

Nose: Fruity and somewhat musty. White peach, stone fruit, white grapes, apricot, kiwi and some pineapple. Lemon and a malt backbone as well.

Taste/Mouth: Wow very unique flavors. White peach big time all the way through like a peach gummy flavored candy. Grapefruit, mango, apricot and grapes. Very juicy, flavorful and unique. You can pick up some heat but barely, it’s hidden well by the big juice and hop flavors. Keeps you interested.

Price/Availability: $10 a bomber in Chicago and pretty easy to find. Rotating as all the Ninjas are.

Overall: One of the most unique, if not the most unique Ninja to date. Grungeist is a new German hop and certainly has incredible depths of flavor. I am obviously a huge fan of this series (seeing as I have reviewed just about all of them) and I love they are pushing the boundaries of these single hop beers and using some new and different hops. This is an awesome and unique beer showcasing a hop I am sure we will start to see pop up more and more.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Tree House Haze Imperial IPA

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Happy to finally get some more Tree House on the blog, this time in cans. A while back, when Tree House was literally still a shed in a backyard I did some reviews of Julius and That’s What She Said (old school reviews). Well they have come a long way since and their beers are somehow even more difficult to get now. Haze is their Imperial IPA and comes in at 8.2% ABV.

Appearance: Super hazy orange juice. Nice 1 finger head with some sticky lacing. It is a New England style milky juice bomb IPA.

Nose: Pineapple, orange juice, mango, great tropical and citrus juice notes. New England style IPA so really heavy on the juicy notes with some floral and toasted malt coming through as well. You can literally smell this beer from across the room.

Taste/Mouth: All signs point to this tasting like a juice bomb and it sure does. Where is the alcohol in this? It says 8.2% but I wouldn’t even believe it if you told me this was .2% alcohol, it’s nonexistent. Great mango, pineapple and orange flavors. Grapefruit is big with a nice malt backbone. Has some biscuit and honey flavors as well. How is this an Imperial IPA, it drinks like a session beer. Medium body finishes dry.

Price/Availability: Brewery release, so much hype. Just hype, I got it in a trade and unless you like lines I think that’s the move.

Overall: What an incredibly well crafted beer. Tree House basically invented the NE Style IPA and every beer they make is unreal. They literally don’t have a hoppy beer on BA with less than a 90 score, and Haze isn’t even close to their highest rated beer (it has a 100 btw which is the highest score). Haze is one of their best beers and one of the staple NE Style doubles you should try. I could crush these all day and not even realize I was drinking beer. I seriously don’t understand where the 8.2% is, it is a testament to the incredible work these guys are doing. This thing is packed with flavor and has a nose to die for, get it now. Haze is perfect.

Grade: A+

Beer Review: Pipeworks Sure Bet Imperial IPA

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A little different than my usual Pipeworks Ninja reviews, here is a Pipeworks Unicorn beer. Sure Bet is their Imperial IPA brewed with honey and mango puree. They switched up the label instead of the unicorn puking its now raining the unicorn puke, I think? Sure Bet comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Super hazy, nice bright orange color with a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin film. Fantastic lacing.

Nose: Huge nose, super juicy and dank. Super mango, no surprise as there is mango puree in this one, pineapple, tropical fruit, melon and orange. It smells like a fruit roll up. Some sweetness from the honey but mostly just super juicy fruit.

Taste/Mouth: Huge tropical fruit bomb. Mango, pineapple, peach, orange and some honey and malt sweetness to back it up. Medium carbonation, it feels a lot like an IPA and not a double, also drinks like one which is awesome considering the ABV. A little heat at the end and feels a little syrupy at times.

Price/Availability: 22oz bomber for $10 and its a rotating option. This is one of their most popular beers and definitely moves quickly.

Overall: Another exceptionally done IIPA from Pipeworks. I could smell this beer all day, it is so dank and juicy. I tend to avoid beers with fruit additions as I find it gimmicky and just usually adds a fake syrupy taste and feel to the beer. I will say I am glad I went against my judgement and grabbed one of these though, the mango puree does what it should, it complements the already great fruit notes from the hops and doesn’t compromise the feel of the beer. I would definitely grab this one again when it pops back up in the store and it is definitely worth seeking out.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Peekskill Higher Standard Imperial IPA

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About a week back I did a review of Peekskill’s hyped up APA Amaze Balls. In the same trade I did I also got a can of their Imperial IPA Higher Standard, which technically the brewery refers to as a Triple IPA. Higher Standard is packed with Simcoe and Citra hops and comes in at 8.8% ABV.

Appearance: Super hazy glowing orange color with a sudsy 1 finger head. Basic art on the can but its appealing and eye catching.

Nose: Resin, pine, citrus and some sweet bready malt notes up front. Can sense some alcohol in the nose. Oily hops, some orange and some grapefruit can be picked out as well. Pretty big nose as expected from a big beer.

Taste/Mouth: Nicely follows the nose with some resin, citrus fruit, orange and tangerine. Simcoe and citra are definitely on display here. Some nice sweet malt and bready notes with some heat on the backend from the alcohol. Finishes dry and sticky. Definitely has a west coast feel to it.

Price/Availability: Brewery release and at $20/4 pack the price tag is pretty steep.

Overall: A nicely executed east coast take on a west coast style Imperial IPA. The brewery notes call it a triple but it seems more like a double to me. Pine and citrus dominate the aroma and flavor thanks to hefty additions of my friends Simcoe and Citra. I want to like this beer more, I really do, but at $20/4 pack it feels like it should be like Hill Farmstead status and not just a solid DIPA. To put the price in perspective you can buy a 4 pack of Peekskill Higher Standard or 5 bombers of Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, I think I will take the latter. Glad I got to try this one but I don’t think I would currently buy it again but I would drink it again if it was more reasonably priced.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Barrier Daddy Warbucks Double IPA

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I was very impressed by my first Barrier beer, their IPA Money, and I was happy to get my hands on Daddy Warbucks aka Imperial Money. Daddy Warbucks comes in at 9% ABV.

Appearance: Super hazy orange color, really nice looking beer. Small 1/3 finger head that dissipates quickly. Some decent lacing as you drink it. I love Barrier’s bottles.

Nose: Pretty dank beer. Resin, pine, grapefruit and mandarin oranges up front. Some underlying sweetness followed by some nectarine and peach notes. Good depth.

Taste/Mouth: Good amount of citrus in the front, very juicy as well with some malt sweetness to balance the beer throughout. Some pineapple notes, not super bitter but the bitterness is there. Very balanced DIPA all around. Finish is somewhat dry and bitter but also malty.I wish a little more of the fruit notes from the nose carried over to the taste.

Price/Availability: 16.9 ounce bottle runs around $12, I got this in a trade. I believe Barrier distributes in the Northeast.

Overall: Daddy Warbucks aka Imperial Money, like its little brother Money is a great beer. Barrier makes beers that feel incredibly well crafted. I am glad I finally got to have both this and Money. Daddy Warbucks is a super solid, well balanced and well executed DIPA. That being said it isn’t anything mind-blowing or earth shattering and I enjoyed Money a little more, would revisit this one though.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Carton/Barrier SS-C.R.E.A.M. Imperial Cream Ale

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Barrier and Carton got together and decided to make a hoppy imperial cream ale. I imagine after drinking lots of Money and Boat Beer they came up with SS-CREAM. Needless to say I was pretty pumped to give this beer a try as Barrier is becoming a favorite east coast brewery of mine and Carton is one of the most solid breweries from NJ. SS-CREAM comes in at 8.4% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Appearance: Slightly hazy copper/light amber color. Almost no head but some real great lacing.

Nose: Citrus, pine, resin, grapefruit, lots of orange and some tropical fruit aromas. Malty sweetness and spicy as well. Smells like a big beer and has a lot of depth. Some of the notes became a little more pronounced as the beer warmed up.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy, herbal hop flavors and some sweet malt up front. Some vanilla flavors with orange and grapefruit carrying over from the nose. Pear and pine resin in the middle. Full body beer with a nice bready malt sweetness as well. It finishes slightly bitter and dry. I would compare this to a super balanced double IPA, since I can’t compare it to any other imperial hoppy cream ales.

Price/Availability: Brewed once as a collab between these two at Smutt Labs in New Hampshire.

Overall: Love the experimental style of this beer. Two solid east coast breweries teaming up and trying something new, while taking elements from some of their successful beers. It feels like there should have been more hype surrounding this beer. I was excited to get this in a trade and it certainly delivered as an excellent super balanced big hoppy beer. It is currently a one off but if it was brought back as a rotating or seasonal offering I would grab it again.

Grade: A-