They’re arrogant, these bastards at the Stone Brewing Company. So much so that they intentionally wrote the label text for this 13th anniversary beer all mixed up, like “Oepn yuor mnid. Usa a craobwr if you msut.” Testing the theory that the mind will automatically unjumble the letters into something readable, or just being difficult. You be the judge – because I can’t be bothered reading further.
I can be bother to sample the beer, though, so let’s be at it. 8.5% alcohol, it would seem, and a slightly hazy russet colour. The nose is richly hoppy – surprise, surprise! – but with rich plum notes supporting the nutty, resinous hop aromas.
The beer hits the tongue with a fruit salad of flavours featuring canned cherries and apricots and a bit of orange marmalade. That is very shortly buried under an avalanche of seriously spicy hops – peppery, citrusy, pine resinous, rosemary-ish, and otherwise unapologetically bitter. The hop assault continues through the very bitter finish, leaving the tongue coated with oils that would need a mouth-sized ShamWow to remove.
In keeping with the Stone oeuvre, this is a monstrous beer with a massive hop content, intended for neither the faint of heart nor the lovers of malty balance in their beers. Unrepentant hopheads, however, will rejoice.