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.
Luponic Distortion is Firestone Walkers new revolving hop series beers. The recipe will change every 90 days as the brewers tweak the beer slightly as hops and malt change. Luponic Distortion No. 002 comes in at 5.9% ABV.
Appearance: Crystal clear golden yellow color with a 1 finger head and some great lacing. Classic looking Firestone IPA here.
Nose: Pine, resin, tropical fruit, mango and mandarin oranges. This beer was danker and juicier than I expected. Some pineapple and melon notes as well. Smell it as soon as you crack it.
Taste/Mouth: Great tropical fruit flavors, mango, pineapple, some piney bitterness as well. Real clean, light feel and easy to drink. Finishes with a lingering tropical fruitiness. Some sweetness on the back end as well. This beer is really just super crushable and clean.
Price/Availability: Damn does this beer shine in this category. Super easy to get as Firestone’s footprint is massive and at $10 a 6 pack of cans, hard to beat that.
Overall: A great, accessible offering from Firestone. Just a good go to beer and a great series. Firestone is one of those breweries sometimes people sleep on because of how big they are but don’t because they are still making incredible beers and pushing boundaries just like those hype breweries that you are waiting an hour in line to get 4 cans of. Can’t wait to get a hold of 3 and 4. Always keep Luponic Distortion as a back pocket option when you need a great crushable fresh and delicious IPA.
For the thirteenth installment of their Backstage Series Founders has brought us ReDANKulous, an imperial red ipa packed with Mosaic, Citra and Chinook hops. The backstage series has been a really great series thus far and brought some of Founders best and most unique releases. ReDANKulous comes in at 9.5% ABV and 90 IBUs.
Appearance: Deep red, amber or even a light brown color. Nice big 2 finger head and some really sticky lacing down the glass.
Nose: Pretty juicy and fruity. Tons of tropical fruit and pine resin are what I pick up primarily. You also get some nice flowery, earthy and spicy hop aromas as well. Fair amount of caramel sweetness in there as well.
Taste/Mouth: Toasty and caramel malt flavors come to the forefront initially and are followed by a lot of piney, resiny hop flavors. You get some spicy and tropical fruit flavors from the hops as well. Super balanced and super drinkable despite the high IBU and ABV of this beer. The ABV is very well hidden under the balanced flavor, beer is way too crushable for the ABV.
Price/Availability: One off as part of the Backstage Series which is a rotating big beer series. All the Backstage beers are priced around $10 and this one was no different.
Overall: I am a huge fan of this style and I wish more breweries would explore it. This beer took home gold for it’s category at the 2015 GABF and it was well deserved. Would love to see Founders bring this one back in some way in the future as I would love to have it again. Pretty near perfect Imperial Red Ale.
Revolution Mosaic hero is an IPA showcasing the unique and amazing hop, Mosaic. Rather than it being a single hop IPA, it utilizes Warrior and Zythos to help put Mosaic on display in all its glory. Mosaic Hero joins the other beers in this series Citra, Crystal, Jukebox and Galaxy. Mosaic Hero comes in at 7.5% and 75 IBUs.
Appearance: Dark copper or a light amber color. 1 finger head and pretty decent lacing. Big fan of all the art for the hero series. They have also since began canning it.
Nose: Super juicy. Lots of tropical fruit, mango, pineapple and some pine resin notes as well. Nice nose which definitely showcases the awesome aspects of Mosaic.
Taste/Mouth: Nice amount of bitterness with a small malt backbone to help keep everything even. Nice juicy tropical fruit flavors dominant the flavor with some pine resin also making its way over from the nose. Pretty easy drinking with a medium mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Can easily put back a few pints of it.
Price/Availability: Around $8 for a bomber and about $12 for a 6 pack of cans. Seasonal rotating release part of the hero series.
Overall: Another nice beer in the hero series, the heroes which showcase single hops are especially solid. Love to support Revolution as well so that is always a plus. I will buy this one again for sure when it rotates into season. I am a huge fan of Mosaic and glad they began to can this one.
Here is my review of another beer from the Bell’s planet series, this is one Jupiter (The Bringer of Jollity), a brown ale. I did drink and write my notes for this beer when it was fresh, I am just behind on my reviews, just wanted to make it clear I wasn’t reviewing a shelf turd. Jupiter is a big imperial brown ale which like the rest of the planet series is inspired by Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite “The Planets”. Jupiter comes in at 8% ABV.
Nose: Chocolate, malt sweetness, brown sugar, a little coffee and espresso. Primarily dominated by chocolate in the nose and you can definitely sense some heat from the alcohol in the nose.
Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black with a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly. Some lacing as you drink, nothing crazy. The labels of these beers look really nice when they are all lined up.
Taste/Mouth: Mellow brown ale flavors. Chocolate comes over from the nose, mostly milk chocolate flavors. Again some espresso and coffee notes popping up with some malt sweetness and caramel/toffee flavors in there as well. Very mild hop bitterness and really no alcohol present in the flavor of this beer surprisingly at 8%. On the back end you get some nutty and brown sugar flavors as well.
Price/Availability: Around $3 for a 12oz bottle and is a one off brew part of the planet series.
Overall: A very solid beer. Not mind blowing and certainly not a style I often seek out but usually enjoy when I drink. The best beer in the series I had up until this point for sure as the others I had were drain pours. I would drink this again if given the opportunity but would probably not seek it out.
Got a review of a Green Flash IPA from their Hop Odyssey series which has brought some pretty great beers in the past. Symposium comes in at 7% ABV.
Appearance: Hazy light glowing copper with a very thick 1 and a half finger head that makes for some sticky lacing.
Nose: Super piney, resiny and floral. Really nice spicy vibe to it as well. Some pungent grapefruit in there as well.
Taste/Mouth: Grapefruit, grassy and earthy that finishes slightly dry and piney. Grapefruit flavor lingers throughout the taste and in the finish. Good malt to back up the brutal bitterness. Really good feel to it, bitter and brutal but still drinkable.
Price/Availability: Seasonal following the hop odyssey calendar. Pretty good pricing around $7.
Overall: Nice seasonal IPA offering from some of the masters of west coast IPAs. Just make sure you catch it when it first is released as Green Flash beers tend to become shelf turds. This beer or any of their IPAs fresh are great bets though!
Doing my best to grab all the Planet series beers from Bells. This is the third beer in the series I believe. Mercury the Winged Messenger comes in at 4.8% and doesn’t list its IBU.
Appearance: Small head, little to no lacing and a lot of floating debris in the beer. Straw yellow pale in color.
Nose: Yeasty, fruity, some banana and clove notes. White grape, spicy farmhouse notes as well. Smells a lot like a Czech Pils to me.
Taste/Mouth: Tastes like a bad Hefe honestly. Earthy and musty yeast flavors, spicy phenols, grape and kind of skunky like a Czech beer. Really weird and definitely not what I expected from this beer. Don’t like the finish either, leaves a very strange flavor in your mouth.
Price/Availability: One time only for the planet series and around $2.50 for a single 12oz bottle.
Overall: Another letdown from this series. This was more drinkable than Venus but that is not saying much as that beer was just an instant drain pour. This is a pretty big miss from Bells and another miss in a series I had high expectations for. I only drank about half of it before I poured this one as well.