Tasting: September 21, 2011
Style:Imperial Black IPA
Apparently there is a controversy in the beer world — should this style be called “Black IPA”or “Cascadian Dark Ale? Some even suggest India Dark Ale. The brewers at Stone on their blog suggests that “Cascadian Black Ale” isn’t historically correct. Cascadian suggests the northwest and may lead people to believe this style started in Oregon. It has been written that the style originated about three thousand miles east in Vermont in the early 1990’s. Stone most notably brewed what they call a Black IPA for their eleventh anniversary ale in 2007 — now that beer is sold regularly as Sublimely Self-Righteous. So, why are they calling this Escondidian Black IPA? Makes sense once you know that Stone Brewing is based in Escondido, California. I also figure that they are taking their shot at the Cascades by pulling the style to their hometown.
So, what is Black IPA or Cascadian Black Ale? It has the darkness of a porter with the bite of an imperial IPA. The darkness comes from the roasted malts — and the bite comes from some big alpha hops. A quick read and they use a mega-alpha hop in Nelson Sauvin. It’s a hop variety from New Zealand — I recently tasted a beer that used Nelson Sauvin — that was Thornbridge’s Kipling Pacific IPA. That hop was bold, lemon and pine.
Some of the vitals…10.8% ABV, 100 IBU. I wish I could get more off the label — but Stone makes it difficult for the “old guys” to read the 3 point type. Pours as you’d expect — a dark porter. The coffee colored head is creamy and lingers on for a while. Smells of big hop citrus. My first sip and I can’t separate the roasted flavor of the malt from the hop citrus — both are equally powerful and wonderful. After a while I can separate the two — the grain is earthy, some dark chocolate, while the hop kicks in some nice lemon. Mouthfeel is perfect and I get some stickiness in the lips. If I can recall my Sublimely Self-Righteous tasting — I’d have to say there are similarities – but this one has a bigger hop character.
I’ll give this one 93 points.
Read my review of Stone’s 14th anniversary ale Here
Read my review of Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale Here