#10 – Stone Brewing Company “Enjoy By 02.14.14”

The Stone Enjoy By series is one of my favorite recurring (but slightly changing) beers. This is a beer that is specifically crafted to not last. The flavors and aromas in this beer will not be nearly as good after the “Enjoy By” date, and you WILL NOT find that batch on the shelves after that date. If you’re a hophead (and in a state that the current batch of Enjoy By is distributed to), definitely pick one or more up. You’ll probably see this one near you, as this was the largest batch made, and it was released to roughly half of Stone’s markets.

You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA

It smells like dank, wet, West Coast hops. Tropical fruit and sweetness. Definitely some of the Simcoe “cat piss/onion” smell, but not as much as previous versions.

Color is a dark golden amber, with a thick head that turns into a few millimeter ring of bubbles. Not a whole lot of bubbles in the glass. Very clear.

Simcoe really shows up in the taste, especially when you first get it in your mouth. The herby, resiny flavor sticks to your tongue. Not super bitter, but lots of flavor. The malt backbone brings out good sweetness. Can’t really taste the alcohol, despite this version running at 9.4% ABV.

Very smooth in the mouthfeel. Not too thick, but it definitely clings. As it’s not super carbonated, there’s not a super dry feeling.

Overall, this is definitely a favorite for me. It hits all the BJCP notes to a T.  This is a beer that seems to fly off shelves, if only partly because of its scarcity. This is a scary smooth, easy drinking Double/Imperial IPA. Buy this one if you can.

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews: Stone Enjoy By 09.13.13 IPA

 

 

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Quick Edit: I drank this beer again, on 9/15, and it was just as good as it was a few weeks ago. If you can find one still, please buy it. It’s worth it.

Some strong beers are able to be “aged” or “cellared,” leaving them in a cool (around 55-65 degrees), dark place. This allows the strong flavors especially present in Imperial or Double IPAs, stouts, and barleywines, to mellow out and add additional flavors to the beer. Bon Apetit magazine has a great article on “How and Why To Age Beer” that breaks it down further.

Stone Brewing Company brews the “Enjoy By” series so that the beer will taste best within a month of bottling. The most recent batch was bottled on 8/09/13, and is the Enjoy By 09.13.13.

This is a rare beer, only distributed to specific markets. Stone puts out a list a few weeks in advance, and this time both Maine and NH were picked. I live in a town that’s on the border of the two states, so it’s great to have this beer distributed to both.

This is absolutely a big beer. This isn’t a beer that’s meant to by chugged at frat houses and football games. This is a beer that’s designed to be savored, drank slowly. At 9.4% ABV, it doesn’t mess around. This isn’t a beer to drink on an empty stomach with minimal sleep. You want to make sure you’ve planned your drinking time for this one. It has very strong hop profile, and it lingers. Stone fruit is very evident, and it hits you with every sip and smell.

Now to my thoughts

Appearance: Clear orange, with a thick tan head. The head fades to about a 1/4 inch, leaving good lacing all through the glass.

Smell: Piney, and a distinct Simcoe hop profile. Pineapple as the beer warmed. You definitely smell the alcohol in this one

Taste: Taste is almost identical to the way it smells. The fresh hops are everywhere in the taste, and the ABV is very well hidden. The malt isn’t overly there, but it’s very well balanced.

Texture: Light, but not too thin. It’s not overly carbonated, so there not an overabundance of bubbles in your mouth.

OverallThis is an excellent beer. I recommend that every hop head gets this while thy have the chance. This is a beer that’s in very short supply. You have less than 2 weeks, after which any that’s left on store shelves goes back to Stone. I look forward to the next beer in the series. Easily a 9/10, if not higher. One of the better beers I’ve drank.