18th Anniversary IPA - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
18th Anniversary IPA18th Anniversary IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,331 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,331
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 27
Gots: 250 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jhartley on 07-20-2014

As we compose the text for this celebratory beer—a golden-brown India pale ale dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops—we stand ready to leap from the precipice of all we know into a new era for our company, our beers and, most importantly, our fans. It’s one that will see us exploring new territory, both geographically and creatively, as we evolve from pacesetters for the American craft brewing movement to cross-planetary champions of the worldwide cause of craft, hoisting our banner to proclaim artisanal beers’ vast superiority over stripped-down, business-driven, industrialized, fizzy, yellow mediocrity. We thank you for shadowing us for the first 18 years of our journey, and welcome you to join us for next leg and all that follows.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,331 | Reviews: 195
Reviews by fox227:
More User Reviews:
Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Pours brown. Nothing gold about it, just brown. What the hell is golden brown, anyway? Head retains okay.

Aroma has a good bit of toasty malt to go with both earthy and papaya-ish tropical hop notes. Mineral, malty. Very much a hoppy brown ale.

Fruity hops up front on the palate, papaya/mango and some bubblegum, a little saccharine when combined with the sweeter malt profile. Toasty, bready. The hop profile is pretty decent here, but it's clashing with the sweet malt backbone. Finish is sweet and bready.

Not a huge fan of this. The brown ale malt foundation clashes with the hops. Wish Stone would get back to making good regular IPAs for their anniversary beers (e.g. Stone 10th) instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every year.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%

A hoppy golden brown ale right here. Not sure what to expect, but it'll probably be bold

Pours a glowing brown, a little light. Wouldn't call it golden brown, but semantics...
A small off white head appears and lingers a bit

Aroma is strange. Boozy, caramel, malt, some herbal hops and a bit of florals

Taste is bold, of course. Tannins and booze. Some hot caramel without the sweetness. Malt is fading and I get herbal notes and some spice. If drinking an IPA I would say it needs more hops to challenge the booze and tannin. If it's a brown, well swing and a miss. Too hot and sporadic with flavors to warrant "very good"

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev +1%

Bottled on 8/4/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, citrus zest, and lots of spicy herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with earth, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and spicy herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with lots of really nice citrus and spicy herbal hop characteristics that remind me of Christmas fruitcake for some reason.

Serving type: bottle.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I figured there would be a lot more reviews on this one at this point. Bottled 7/29/14.

Pours a somewhat unusual brown amber. (What is it with the dark IPAs lately? This is the 3rd in a week.) Lots of lacing on the glass. Flavor is not overly obnoxious, which is fine by me. Stone has delivered no shortage of punch in the mouth IPAs before. This one is more rounded, with smoothed out pine as the main characteristic. Very easy to drink. I like it. It seems a departure from the typically boisterous hop-harsh offerings that Stone typically does.

Photo of scotorum
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Bottled 8/8/14. Purchased from a case display three days ago (9/11)

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Tree House tulip pint.

a: Clear copper withy an inch tall offwhite head which receded slowly to rocky surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Pine and citrus

t: A tasty pine/citrus flavor over a smooth medium mildly caramel malt base, followed by moderate bitterness which lingers, then dissipates. The caramel malt presence increases as it warms, and becomes really delicious.

m: Medium and smooth. Lots of carbonation tingle

o: An exceptionally smooth, hoppy and eventually tasty-malty brown, Happy Anniversary Stone!

Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on 07/29/14.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head which slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A juicy, earthy, and fairly toasty hop forward aroma with good hints of citrus, pine, and toasted malt. Citrus hops with juicy hints of grapefruit, orange peel, mango, lemon, tangerine, and pineapple. Earthy, floral, and herbal hops with hints of spicy pine resin and grass. Toasted malt with hints of caramel, toffee, coffee, biscuit, nuts, and yeast. Also some subtle sweet hints of brown sugar. A pretty interesting and good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a juicy, earthy, and somewhat toasty and roasty taste with big notes of citrus, pine, and toasted malt. Upfront citrus hops with notes of grapefruit, orange, lemon, mango, pineapple, and tangerine. Good mix of floral, earthy, and herbal hop flavors with notes of pine resin spice and grass. Solid and unique backing presence of toasted malt with notes of caramel, toffee, toast, coffee, biscuit, and yeast. Subtle notes of sugar. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, oily, creamy, and fairly drying. Alcohol is masked fairly well.

Overall: A pretty good twist on an IPA. Good juicy West Coast hops with a Brown Ale like malt presence. Unique and pretty tasty.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours clear and golden brown in color with an off-white finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of suds and a layer of suds that's mostly small and spotty with good stick.

Smell - Strong citrus presence in the way of grapefruit and orange, backed by moderate levels of chocolate character. More cocoa notes than milk. That said, the aroma is marked by a strong orange sweetness.

Taste - Right there with the nose. Grapefruit flavor upfront met quickly by orange sweetness and an undercurrent of chocolate flavor. Finishes with a well-received citric acid undertone which is pleasant, much like fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice and maybe even a bit of candied orange.

Mouthfeel - Close to full in body with moderate carbonation. Nothing special here, but with flavor like this it doesn't need to be.

Overall - Good!The citrus/chocolate combination doesn't feel forced like a lot of the black IPA's I've had (Moylan's Orange and Black Congrats, Rogue's Daddy's Little Helper for example), but instead harmonize and make a wonderfully sweet, assertive citric explosion of flavor. Overall a quite harmonious and certainly unique experience. Yeah, I could definitely stand to drink this again.

Photo of GilGarp
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Bomber served cold into a goblet.

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA is a lightly hazy amber brown color with thick ivory head.

The aroma is pleasantly hoppy and fresh with the typical west coast citrus, especially grapefruit.

Flavor is bold and bitter but balanced for an imperial IPA. Good sweetness from the toasted malts and the caramel rounds out the hops nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

"The hoppiest golden-brown IPA on earth." I wouldn't doubt it. Could also be described as a fresh, light-bodied barleywine. Either way, you can't go wrong with this beer.

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Classic Stone clarity, with a deep chestnut red body. Small rising carbonation, with a creamy vanilla yellow controlled and large four finger even sized head. Forms like cream, even bubbled and whip cream consistency. Classic good looking brew.

El Dorado hops on this brew smell dang interesting, different than I remember. Hints of wood and tropical mushed up fruit cocktail. A woody and nice sense of dry malt, almost smokey and kilned to an extent. Tropical fruit sweetness with a big herbal tea aroma almost like papaya and black tea, with a big juiced angle. Very nice.

Palate sings. Classic West coast fruity IPA style it seems but with a twisting tea angle, and a spicier woody kick. Classic brown character ale is sort of sledgehammered down by a big fruit/tea hop and thick body. Big coating resins on the finish, with some good spice brown clove and almost smoke like roast. Good juicy classic big hop palate, a quenching coating covers the entire mouth and crevices.

A classic Stone brew, with an interesting twist leaving some interesting unusual malt character to peak out through a classic brew. Let's do it again in another year guys.

Photo of kojevergas
2.51/5  rDev -35.6%

From the label: "...as we evolve from pacesetters for the American craft brewing movement to cross-planetary champions of the worldwide cause of craft, hoisting our banner to proclaim artisanal beers’ vast superiority over stripped-down, business-driven, industrialized, fizzy, yellow mediocrity." "Bottled 08/24/14." (Notice Stone has moved their bottle dating to a Julian code, even though there's ample space for it on their label even with the asinine self-aggrandizing marketing garbage filling it up. And people claim Stone cares about freshness...)

Yup, arrogant bastards indeed.

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with unappealing label art and branded pry-off pressure cap purchased earlier today at an H-E-B grocery in Austin, TX and served into a pilsner glass. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given the marketing company - I mean brewery - that made this beer.

8.50% ABV confirmed. Reviewed as an IPA; what do they mean by "golden-brown IPA" anyway? Douchebags.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Three fingers wide. Light khaki colour head. Okay thickness and creaminess. Decent complexion and consistency. Could be softer, fuller, and more appealing. It's rather generic overall. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes.

BODY: Predictable translucent dark copper colour. Transparent. Not sure where they're getting this "golden-brown" nonsense, but props to Stone's marketing team (as always).

No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. It's far from unique or special, and looks like any other IPA. I can't say it's particularly inviting.

AROMA: Pale malts, caramalt.

Generic floral hop character. Hints of evergreen and maybe spruce. Some faint herbal hop notes.

Not finding any piney hop character, nectary notes, citrusy notes, or even fruity hop character.

It's slightly resinous, and comes off dry. I can't say I'm very impressed with the choices of hops judging by the aromatics.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, or off-notes are detectable, though it is slightly cardboard-y.

It's too heavy on the caramalt, but luckily I'm not detecting the imbalance caused by unchecked hop bitterness usually found in Stone's hoppy beers.

It's by no means a good or appealing aroma for an IPA, but it's not off-putting. An inoffensive aroma of average strength overall.

TASTE: Caramalts, brown malts, and pale malts provide the foundation. There's some wretched bubblegum flavour in the late second act which is nothing short of awful. Has some herbal hop notes and completely out-of-place graham cracker. Brown sugar, perhaps? The tea-like notes lend still more bitterness, and verge on lending an almost tannic astringency. Wow, is this imbalanced - in classic Stone fashion. It's just a chaotic mess, devoid of any clear intention or focus. Has tea-like tones as well (which don't suit it at all).

Anything pleasant you might hope to find in a IPA isn't present here - don't expect any nectary notes, resins, pleasant floral hops, juicy fruity notes, citrus, etc. It's by no means fresh. Evokes aged cannabis which is stale enough to have lost its oils.

Built strangely and poorly. Not at all a cohesive or gestalt build. Poor flavour amplitude. Average flavour duration and intensity. Shallow depth of flavour. I'm not liking this one much at all.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, unrefreshing, and hard. It's not soft, particularly creamy, approachable, or quenching. There're no hop oils to unite the hoppy flavours (though in fairness, it seems somehow the hops are adding bitterness but no flavour) and it doesn't feel like the texture was ever considered alongside the flavours.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Overall, this texture is poorly executed and doesn't seem deliberately conceived. The overcarbonation reduces drinkability.

OVERALL: Another miss from Stone. It's a mess of a beer, lacking any balance or intricacy whatsoever. There's no subtlety or nuance. I will say it drinks fairly easily for 8.50%, and I'll finish the entire bottle alone - but then I never drainpour beer because I respect it (and the money I paid for it). The weird herbal hop dominance coupled with the strange emphasis on graham cracker and caramalt makes this one a major loser in terms of flavour. If this is what El Dorado hops lend to a beer, having never had them until now let me say that we should cease all usage of them entirely going forward.

I wouldn't buy this again and would recommend friends and trade partners avoid it. That said, with some tweaks (and perhaps a style change), this might make a passable holiday release. The graham cracker and herbal hop notes would go well with some rosemary/ginger spicing. Let's definitely drop the tea notes, though - those are definitely not working at all.

Low C-

Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%

As the Stone Brewing Company reaches full maturity, it's grown-up expectations haven't hampered their creativity, imagination or courage. Their 18th Anniversary Ale shows the indecision of IPA or brown ale as both find themselves inside this bottle.

Its mid-amber glow shows a tad more heft than is usual for even big IPA, but to the nose and early palate it's all about the hops. White grapefruit, tangy under-ripened orange and a burst of lemon leap right out with only lightly toasted sweetness and nutty coffee grounds lurk deep in the recesses.

Its sweetness proves fast-fleeting over the middle palate and allows the hops to really claim their stage. Lemony verbena, sassafras tea, lemondrop and fragrant woods develop a spicy flavor while bitterness secures its grip as well. Its faint coffee components give a curious earthiness to the hops that's hard to qualify.

But in finish, the west-coast bitterness latches onto the gullet for a long bitter finish. Its medium-full body gives way to a deeply resinous, spicy and fairly astringent character from the tandem of stemmy hops and coffee tannin.

Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%

Had on tap at the Pizza Plant on Transit a few days back.Came to the table in a 10 oz stemmed glass a slight hazed deep burnt orange with a thinner head atop.A big shot of tropical fruits and sweet alcohol,it seems bigger than it is alcohol wise.Caramel sweetness and alcohol soaked sweet tropical fruits on the palate,with a bit of pine in the finish,still pretty sweet.

Photo of generallee
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1 pint 6 oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 8.5%.

Appearance: The body has a dark tarnished copper color. It is cloudy and topped off with a thick light tan head. The holds on well and makes some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: I the aroma I get a full nose of fresh baked bread, doughy yeast and orange rind like citrus hops.

Taste / Palate: The flavor is balanced between sweet maltiness and citrusy hops. It’s a big full bodied hit of fresh baked bread, brown sugar up front and bitter orange peel and pith in the finish.

Photo of Jason
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%

Love the excessive flavors, just a tad too hot during the initial sips.

Photo of Mangbus
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Was pleased with the west coast flavor. Another great IPA from Stone. Look forward to more.

Photo of timontheroad
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very thin head which faded quickly, didn't leave much lacing on the glass. Hazy brown color, thought it was pretty dark for an IPA.
Smell: Immediately got a sweet malty aroma, followed by some spice and citrus notes.
Taste: Fruity, sweetness from malt upfront, with a slightly bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel, nice prickly carbonation with a slight alcohol burn.
Overall: I'm not a big fan of Brown Ales or Black IPAs, but this one was pretty tasty for a dark IPA.

Photo of rdilauro
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

I didnt know what to expect from this one... A brown ale or an IPA and how it combines.
I liked the maltiness and softness of a Brown ale and the dry bitterness of the IPA.

I know this is not a true brown ale, but tasting others, its seems a close match

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%

Poured into a snifter, an aggressive pour produces a heavy-looking, frothy, creme-colored head that remains about a finger and a half thick for quite some time after pouring. The body is light brown and amber and shows champagne-like carbonation. 4.3

A blast of citrus and tropical fruit hit my nose, which is surprising given the appearance of this beer. There seems to be some rye or dark malt aromas that just peek through, but these quickly disappear behind the aforementioned smells and some booziness. 4

This taste will throw you for a loop; it's very dessert like. It reminds me a bit of a sticky bun, but with some resinous, citrusy additives. There's a honey or toffee sweetness, heavy vanilla, and a slight bite of booze. 4.2

It's boozier than I'd like, but I still eff with the creamy smoothness. There's mellow bitterness and some spiciness, and medium sweetness that I enjoy. 4.1

I feel like Stone might have bitten Green Flash with this beer, but hey, it's good. 4.19

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA
22 oz. brown glass bottle, Bottled on date is illegible (partially smeared off)

My first thought was that this is a "Brown IPA", a style that hasn't particularly appealed to me in the past.Then I feared that as a Stone beer it might be a little too much. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that it's quite smooth and rounded, which is something that Stone seems to be moving towards these days. Good for them!

Back to the "Brown IPA". This is what they've labeled a "Golden-Brown IPA", and that comes through. It's certainly brown in color, appearing a dark russet with orange and golden highlights beneath a frothy head of khaki foam, but it doesn't have all of the chocolate or softly roast flavors that a brown ale might have.

Stepping back, the aroma is quite wonderful, clearly due to the El Dorado hops. It displays a combination of fruit that's really hard to pinpoint at first. I felt I was smelling one fruit, but I eventually I found papaya, grapefruit, and watermelon (!?). It's a touch sweetish and floral as well. These all carry over into the flavor, and I'm quite sure that the restrained "brown" character of the malt is restrained so that the hops are able to shine.

The hops are much fuller in the flavor than they are in the aroma, and even more complex - all the while not stepping forward so that the beer seems very streamlined and focused (although there is much more citrus). If you weren't looking specifically for hop flavors they'd pass right by you. The malt then does more than just support the hop flavors, it blends with and balances them. It's toasty, and subtly chocolatey, but mainly caramelish; displaying mainly golden caramel, but a bit of darker caramel as well. In my opinion the caramel flavors help to accentuate the tropical melon and citrus flavors that the hops offer. With all of that said, it's a fairly focus flavor overall, remaining the same from start to finish with the exception of a little bit more pine and citrus appearing in the drying finish. The bitterness is restrained, particularly for a Stone beer, but that's also most likely been done to allow the hop flavors to shine. There's more than enough to balance it, but not so much that it becomes harsh.

Finally, the carbonation is restrained as well, leaving it smooth and creamy across the palate, accentuating the maltiness and allowing the hops to come through without interference of carbonic acid or increased perceived bitterness.

Overall this is a really remarkable beer that shows a deft hand in brewing. Whoever formulated this should be congratulated as I'm sure they won't receive accolades from the public - it'll just fall blindly into the cracks of ignorance.

Photo of Roguer
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful beer: dark reddish brown body, nearly opaque, until held up to the light - then, it shines through with a brilliant red highlight, showing its true translucency. Pours a nice beige head, with absolutely fantastic retention, and leaving nice lacing.

New hop yields a familiar aroma: citrus (grapefruit and lemon), herbal earthiness, and quite a bit of caramel and brown sugar. Surprising strength to the malt body as it slowly warms.

Very, very interesting taste profile: hops up front, focusing on citrus peel and pulp; big notes of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit for the malt body; and a refreshing hint of mint and grass on the back-end. Malt is perhaps a little too strong, giving just the slightest hint of stale cardboard. I wouldn't have guessed coffee if the bottle didn't tell me so, but if I look for it, there's a dry hint of it on the finish.

Aggressive, lively mouthfeel. Very nice feel for a DIPA.

I know this was supposed to be more unique, with a notable coffee and cocoa presence, but I don't get much of it. Instead, the caramel malts really come barreling through, and at almost a month since bottling, give it a tiny bit of stale character, which is unfortunate. The El Dorado dry hopping is evident, and adds a very nice character.

It's a good beer overall, but I feel that it's less than it could have been, and simply not as enjoyable as Stone's regular hop bombs.

Photo of RickS95
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

It's extremely dark for an IPA, more closely resembling a Belgian dark or something. Typical thick, meringue-like head. Good retention and medium lace.

Mostly pine scent. Maybe some citrus in there somewhere, but with El Dorado hops, I'm not sure what it's supposed to smell like.

Tiny bit of banana in the taste, mixed in with the pine and savory hops. Not really what I expected from Stone. No citrus anywhere.

Mouthfeel is on the bitter side of bitter. Medium bodied with just enough malt bill to give it slight balance. As I mentioned, hops are savory. Bitterness lingers well into the swallow.

A good beer. Not a great beer, nor a bad beer. A good beer. Just missing something, something Stone-like.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%

Pours two fingers of head on a light brown body.
The aroma is caramel, pine, lemon and candy. Wonderful blend.
The taste is a lot of things at once and not always in step. Slightly nutty and sweet at first, big pine bitter in the middle and finishes with a mild sweet and bitter note.
The texture is quite smooth.
It smells amazing and looks great, the taste is not quite to my liking though.

Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Pours an effervescent orange/tea color with a thumb + of cream colored head. Crazy lacing, decent head retention (4.25)

S: Tropical fruit & grassyness (3.5)

T: Follows the nose, leafy hops & brown bread notes, plus a touch of rye up front.. Dryness, pineapple, grapefruit, & peppery rye, plus tannin notes as this warms. Finishes dry, with a little grapefruit & peppery rye, & grassyness (4.0)

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, nicely balanced (4.0)

Drinks pretty easy, there's enough of a spin on this I find it interesting (4.0)

Photo of HalfFull
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Yet another review deleted due to web structure. Alas a lightly hopped brown not really IPA that misses the point. An easy drinking anomoly of sorts. Yet very surprised to see this as an Anny relesase

Photo of HopHead_
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured from growler into a 24 oz pilsner glass. Pours brown with a white head. Good lacing on glass. Smell reminded me of opening a bag of el dorado hops during a recent home brew. Taste starts with a tropical fruit hop flavor followed by toffee. Smooth with a medium body. Overall I'm pleasantly surprised with this beer.

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18th Anniversary IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,331 ratings.