Stone Brewing Co.: 13th Anniversary Ale


I finally got around to opening my bottle of Stone's 13th Anniversary Ale this past weekend. First, it is not what I was expecting at all. Second, it was far more than I ever imagined.

Why was it not what I was expecting? Well, I imagined stone coming out with a special IIPA for the anniversary ale. The first 'I' was correct in that the beer is an imperial, however, the second through fourth letters were wrong. In fact the 13th Anniversary Ale is a Double Red, or as I would prefer to call it, an Imperial Red. What a surprise. Never would I have expected this from Stone.

Why what is far more than I ever imagined? Let us start with the poor. The 13th Anniversary is a deep rich mahogany color with a thick head that came be compared to some of the best IIPAs on the market. Wow! And, it is filled with your typical IIPA notes, like citrus and flowers while still maintaining a malty richness.

According to stone, Chinook hops were used for bittering and then this bad boy was dry-hopped with a 50/50 blend of Simcoe and Centennial hops. Well, this explains the fullness of the aroma. To top that off, the folks at Stone dry-hopped the 13th Anniversary AGAIN before bottling. Brilliant, I tell you, pure brilliance. This is why Stone made it to its 13th Anniversary, and will be around for many more years to come. It is going out on a limb like this that makes a beer sensational.

Oh, and the taste. The 13th Anniversary is not for pansies, that is for sure. It is for a true beer connoisseurs to enjoy. The average beer drinker likely will not be able to appreciate the pure complexity of this beer. It is one of the most well balanced ales that I have every seen, rich yet bitter. But, the bitterness is not overdone and in fact just perfect for a red ale of this caliber. The 13th Anniversary is the kind of beer that you enjoy with friends (drinking the full 22 ounces alone might not be the best idea since it comes in at 9.5%) on a weekend afternoon (or after a tough day at work) over a nice conversation. This is not the beer to drink quickly. In fact, that slower the better . . . that way you can enjoy the complexity to its fullest as well as experience the beer in its entirety as it slowly warms. The maltiness prevails with time as you may expect.

The bottom line: The 13th Anniversary is a step in the right direction for Stone!


Post a Comment