18th Anniversary IPA
Stone Brewing

18th Anniversary IPA18th Anniversary IPA
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IPA - Imperial
3.93 | pDev: 11.2%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
18th Anniversary IPA18th Anniversary IPA
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 1,355 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohnnyK:
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JohnnyK from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Aug 29, 2014
More User Reviews:
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Mebuzzard from Colorado

3.41/5  rDev -13.2%

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"

Aug 23, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.94/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

Sep 03, 2014
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Aug 11, 2014
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largadeer from California

3/5  rDev -23.7%

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.

Sep 08, 2014
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scotorum from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

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!

Sep 15, 2014
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TheSixthRing from California

4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Sep 23, 2014
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

Sep 11, 2014
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.51/5  rDev -36.1%

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-

Sep 05, 2014
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GilGarp from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

Aug 22, 2014
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.37/5  rDev +11.2%

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.

Aug 24, 2014
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

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.

Aug 28, 2014
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Massbmx from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Nov 16, 2014
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Mattyb79 from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%

Aug 28, 2014
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jaemeno3 from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 20, 2014
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Ashley760 from California

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Aug 26, 2014
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a clear golden brown, yellowish white head.

Aroma of biscuity malts with a light hoppiness.

Tastes of caramel and biscuit malt with a piney hop finish.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

A pretty nice darker IPA with some good flavor and decent aroma, but Stone has done better. It's nice and worth a try for Stone fans.

Aug 18, 2014
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andrewjraab from Michigan

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall, a very solid DIPA / brown IPA. Burn orange / brown color with Stone signature lacing. Big citrus flavor, hop forward, malty. Hits all the marks for a really solid DIPA with some malt back bone.

Dec 05, 2014
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ToddThompson from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Sep 15, 2014
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mbeerdino21 from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Sep 06, 2014
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yinz11 from Georgia

4.76/5  rDev +21.1%

Sep 11, 2014
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reizorc from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

Sep 17, 2014
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InfernoBoss from California

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Sep 14, 2014
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malfunxion from New York

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Nov 14, 2014
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Theogre83 from Kansas

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Sep 27, 2014
18th Anniversary IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1355 ratings