Tag Archives: 20th anniversary encore series

Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 7.5%
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Other Notes: 2016 rerelease. 40 IBUs. Hops – Centennial. Special ingredients – Sweet orange peel, Curaçao orange peel, coriander & black pepper

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale is quite easily the rarest and most highly sought-after beer we have ever brewed – with winning bids at one time surpassing $1,200 on eBay. It was so rare that even at the time of its release our own team could barely get their hands on the first bottle of this millennium-inspired, sequentially released series. We produced just 300 cases and one of our delivery drivers at the time dropped and broke one (if calc’d @ $1,200/bottle, that was a $14,400 case!). This bumped-up, Stone-ized version of a Belgian witbier was our first Belgian-inspired beer. Featuring orange peel, wheat, coriander and black pepper, it was our first beer brewed with ingredients beyond the four beer-making essentials of malt, hops, water & yeast. The first time in which co-founder and original Brewmaster Steve Wagner gave former Head Brewer Lee Chase free rein. And, to really pile on the firsts, it was the first time a brewery created a series of different beers designed to be enjoyed together in an epic eleven-part vertical tasting so far into the future (10 years, to be exact…originally sometime after 12.12.12). The cache was more than just in the numbers. Boasting impressive high notes of citrus, spicy hops and honey-like character, Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale was a bright, if less-than-obvious, way to begin this eleven-movement symphony of flavor. Today, while it’s impossible for all but the most uber collector to experience the original, those who desire can once again taste what was the start of something truly epic.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.89
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 22 fl. oz. bomber, bottled on 22nd July 2016. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.
Appearance: A clear golden colour with a big three finger white head that had decent retention and left lots of nice sticky lacing.
Aroma: Orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, orange creamsicle, Belgian yeast, with some light funk.
Taste: Orange creamsicle, orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, Belgian yeast and a light but spicy pepper finish.
Mouthfeel: Dry, medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: I enjoyed the first glass and could see how it was ground breaking in 2002, but despite this, a whole bomber by myself might just have been a bit too much.

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Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 8.9%
Style: English IPA
Other Notes: 2010 label, 2016 re-release. 100 IBUs. Hops – UK Target, Boadicea and East Kent Golding

Brewer Description: (from bottle) We went to England this past spring as self-styled “IPA Hunters” on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history or India pale ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year-old brewers’ logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: We make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it.

This one, however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the “Burtonised” water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all-British ingredients to brew our “Emperial” IPA. While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes?

In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Golding and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present and future?

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.86
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.7

Intro: A 22 oz bomber, bottled on 22nd October 2016, and poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
Appearance: A slightly hazy pale golden orange colour with a one finger white head that had good retention and left nice lacing.
Aroma: Caramel and pine with fruity apricot jam, orange and perhaps a touch herbal.
Taste: Caramel malt, biscuit sweetness, light lemon tea, followed by pine, herbal and lingering citrus bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Dry-ish, medium to light bodied with moderate to light carbonation.
Overall: This was an interesting English DIPA with nice maltiness and hops.

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Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 10th Anniversary IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 10%
Style: American Double IPA
Other Notes: 2006 label, 2016 re-release. Hops – Summit, Chinook, Crystal and Simcoe

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Every one of you who spread the word has built up this brewery to what it is today. We can give no credit to a radio ad, to a TV ad or to a billboard – and I’m glad. MIKE PALMER // Team Stone since December 1998.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for two visionaries. Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. Thanks for having the guts to go out and take a major risk and performing the near impossible. DAVE DYER // Team Stone since July 1998.

I came to the brewery almost seven years ago in response to a help wanted ad that read “if you like accounting and beer, send us your resume.” That’s for me, I thought. What the job really is, is much more than just accounting and much, much more than just beer. CONNIE GREEN // Team Stone since December 1999.

Stone is just not the company I work for, it is something I truly believe in. The culture, vision, attitude, and bragging rights over my friends and family make this company a passion for me. I appreciate all the Stone fans for their support over the years. JAKE RATZKE // Team Stone since January 2000.

My love to my family at home and to my Stone brothers and sisters and, of course, most of all to all the great Stone fans out there who make it all worth it. Cheers! MIKE LOPEZ // Team Stone since March 2000.

“Does Stone make a light beer?” NO! And stop asking, you wussies! KAREN WESTFALL // Team Stone since March 2000.

With the Stone 10th Anniversary IPA our love affair with the hop continues. My compliments and thanks to everyone who’s been a part of our history. We have an incredible Team here at Stone, and we’ve really enjoyed sharing our beers. GREG KOCH // Team Stone since October 1995.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is that after ten years there’s still so much I’d like to do with beer – more recipes to brew, experiments to try, other beers to sample and enjoy – that the next ten years won’t be nearly enough. STEVE WAGNER // Team Stone since October 1995.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.92
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 22 oz bomber, bottled on 25th August 2016, to be enjoyed by 23rd November 2016 (drank on the 27th, so I’m four days late). Poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
Appearance: It poured a clear copper amber colour with a big three finger slightly off white colour with great retention and nice lacing.
Aroma: Tropical pineapple with touches of mango followed by citrusy grapefruit and mandarin, pine and a hint of caramel.
Taste: Caramel biscuit malt with a blast of tropical stone fruits, bitter citrusy mandarin and its zest with notes of pine and citrus pith.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and boozy on the finish.
Overall: This was nice, with my only minor complaint being that I’m not too fond of a boozy feel on IPAs or Double IPAs in this case. Other than that, I found it enjoyable.

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Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 5th Anniversary IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 8.5%
Style: American Double IPA
Other Notes: 2001 label, 2016 re-release

Brewer Description: (from bottle) It’s late July as I write this. Weather’s been great. Good San Diego weather – nice and hot, but not too hot. The days are like a warm burrito accented by the salsa fresca of the afternoon’s cool ocean breezes. Perfect beer-drinking weather (admittedly, I think ALL weather is perfect beer-drinking weather). August is knocking on the door. September and our 5th Anniversary Open House are just around the corner, and the phrase “going green” is beginning to take on a life of its own. Seems like I’ve been asking Steve and Lee for weeks for some hints on what they are doing with the Anniversary IPA this year and I haven’t been getting anywhere. It’s tough to rope in a brewer sometimes. So, just now I went out in the brewery looking for one of them and, lo and behold, I managed to corner them both. “OK, you guys,” I said, planting my feet firmly, “nobody’s going anywhere until you tell me what the hell we’re doing with the 5th Anniversary IPA so I can write up the label.” After a long pause and some shifty glances side to side looking for an out, they realized the only way they were going to get away from me was to give up some information. “We plan on doing a lot more dry hopping this year,” said Steve. I had kinda figured that, so no way I was going to let them off that easy. “Actually, we’re going to hop it more all around, just especially in the dry hopping,” volunteered Lee. Jokingly, Steve piped in: “Hmmm, maybe we could just pack a fermenter with hops and then fill the remaining space with fermenting beer. Heck, why not just switch the amount of malt we use with hops…that way we could add a little malt in at the end and say that we’re ‘dry-malting’ it.” Now, that’s a thought…. So, how would we describe this year’s Stone 5th Anniversary IPA in comparison to years 1-4? In a word, “more.” Enjoy it because there won’t be any more Anniversary IPAs after this one…

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.95
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 22 oz bomber, bottled on 25th August 2016, to be enjoyed by 23rd November 2016 (drank on the 26th, so I’m three days late). Poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
Appearance: It poured a clear copper amber colour with a big three finger white head with pretty good retention and nice lacing.
Aroma: Citrus zest mostly mandarin and lemon, grapefruit, pine, biscuity malt and flowery.
Taste: Biscuity malt, light caramel sweetness, mandarin, orange zest bitterness, a hint of tropical mango and peach, with a light floral and herbal element.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: I was not impressed with my first sip, BUT actually, this got a lot better the more I drank it. Its not too sweet and not too bitter in my opinion, which seems to be a rare thing with Double IPAs these days. I enjoyed it, especially the more I had.

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Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 10.8%
Style: American Black IPA
Other Notes: 2011 label, 2016 re-release. 100 IBUs. Hops – Columbus, Citra, Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade

Brewer Description: (from bottle) In the 15 years since we entered the craft brewing world, change has come not in a straight line but as an exponential curve. The craft brewing movement has long been called a “revolution.” But today the air is so thick with revolution it’s palpable. No longer is it only an awareness among the faithful; the unconverted are beginning to feel it as well. Denial and ignorance are disappearing in favor of opened eyes, curiosity and the sense that there’s something larger out there. For far too long we have been lied to. For far too long we have been oppressed by the notion that dumbed-down-lowest-common-denominator-mediocrity was all that we could, and should, expect. You might think we’re talking only about the world of brewing, but we’re not. There is a myriad of products out there masquerading as cheeses, coffee, chocolates, breads… hell, there is stuff pretending to be “food” that our great-grandmothers would not recognize as such. Yet the craft brewing movement, together with the artisanal food movement, is making much progress. Where the industrial companies can’t dismiss or bury us, they are attempting to copy us with cheap facsimiles. Yes, chances are if you are holding this bottle, you understand these things to be true about the world of brewing. You also likely understand the importance of our fight at Stone against accepted “norms” over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution & mediocrity still reigns. Consider that when you reject dumbed down, industrialized food and drink, you also support craft brewing. The line is nearly seamless; we are fighting the same battle. We will not win in our lifetime, as the powers are too entrenched, and the masses too… fooled. And shackled. However, this is a revolution of ideas and of taste, and we will win. How do you want to be viewed by your children, and your children’s children? As a hero, or as the oppressed? (Those who don’t think they have been oppressed are already lost.) Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. We hope you’ll stand with us. Strong and unyielding. You are needed. This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight. Cheers to all we’ve accomplished together in the past 15 years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.09
My ratebeer.com rating: 4

Intro: A 22 oz bomber, bottled on 17th August 2016, to be enjoyed by 23rd November 2016 (drank on 24th, so I’m a day late). Poured into an oversized wine glass.
Appearance: It poured a dark brown near black colour with a one finger tanned head that had pretty decent retention and eventually fades to a thin cap, leaving nice lacing.
Aroma: Roasty malt and light chocolate with nice tropical pineapple, peach and apricot. There’s also a touch of citrus orange and lemon zest, pine and a light char at the end.
Taste: Bittersweet chocolate, light char smoke, followed by strong bitter grapefruit, orange zest and pine. The roastiness comes back and the bitterness lingers on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation.
Overall: A nice roasty and hoppy Black IPA. I’m glad that they re-released this.

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