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Review by seaoflament on 06/29/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 10 18 4 8 2009
Fresh off the Stone delivery truck. I rushed over to SouthBayDrugs and Liquor as soon as this was delivered. The Stone Anniversary beers have been some of the best beers Stone has ever produced, in my opinion, so I was really looking forward to the 13th now that the hops are back! And boy, do they make a grand re-appearance with this one!

Poured into my Stone 11th Anniversary pint glass. The beer is a combination of dark brown and garnet with over two inches of khaki colored foam. Very tiny bubbles make the top layer of the head with some larger ones on the sides of the glass. The head slowly falls down into the beer with minimal lacing, yet about a quarter inch layer sustains for the entirety of the beer's existence.

Great aroma and surprisingly very well balanced. Pine hops on the forefront with a hefty caramel and toast base. Notes of brown sugar, sugary dates, sweet raisins, chocolate, and toffee battle for your attention. Sticky-sweet and resiny citrus and pine hop aroma all around, with some alcohol and yeast esters too. A lot of dry hop aroma in this one. Hints of herbal hoppyness and spicy alcohol. The aroma kind of tones down after a while, maybe it's the type of glassware but I was expecting this one to be bolder and just scream of hops on the nose. Later on I get notes of bitter coffee.

The first sip is similar to the aroma, a large malt base with notes of toast, toffee, chocolate, and brown sugar but then the rush of bitterness balances out in the finish. Pine resin, bitter orange and grapefruit peel, toast crumbs, toffee, and bits of chocolate. The second sip is almost backward with the bitterness upfront and the malts in the finish. Looong lasting bitterness.

Full bodied, a bit syrupy as it enters, and moderate carbonation. The finish is dry, bitter, yet a bit of residual sugar manages to cling to the palate. Well balanced and extremely easy to drink. Would have liked just a tad more carbonation though.

Great beer but honestly, with all the talk of how much hops went into this beer I was expecting it to be a bit more extreme yet it turned out to be fairly well balanced. Is that good or bad? That's up to each individual to decide, the fact is that this beer tastes great.

Served In: Pint Glass