16th Anniversary IPA | Stone Brewing

very good
1,395 Ratings
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16th Anniversary IPA16th Anniversary IPA

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
We've been loving creating Collaboration beers with great creative brewers from all over the world these last several years-unique beers that would never have existed without the free-flowing imagination and idea generation of the collaborative process. However, when it comes to the Stone Anniversary Ales, it's all us. Yet, it is indeed still a collaboration with great creative brewers (if we do say so ourselves). We're talking about our own brewing team, of course. And while some of our beers, anniversary and otherwise, have been designed by a single person, the Stone 16th Anniversary IPA was definitely a team effort.

This year our brewing team was inspired by some exotic-ish additions of the lemony persuasion. Yes, it's a Double IPA (can you really say you're surprised?), but as we strive to do with all our Stone Anniversary Ales of the let's-take-this-IPA-in-a-new-direction variety, we've brewed up a Stone-worthy divergence from tradition. The amount of rye malt we used isn't quite enough to warrant the appellation "Rye IPA," but it still adds hints of spiciness that contrast deliciously with the tropical fruit flavors and aromas of the Amarillo and Calypso hops. Add a few European specialty malts, some lemon verbena, and three more hop varieties to the mix, and you have a highly complex brew melding both bitter and fruity hop notes with rich toasted malt character punctuated by nuances of spicy rye and subtle lemon.

Added by CloudStrife on 08-10-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 393 | Ratings: 1,395
Photo of 2xHops
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is strong at 10% ABV, and it has all of the hallmark of a good IPA except for one thing.

I thought the initial flavor as it hit your mouth was a bit odd. It may have been due to their use of lemon, but something was a bit off at first. However, it's still a good Imperial IPA that packs a punch for anyone who drink it.

The aroma, the foam, the color, and for most part the flavors were pretty good. It's worth the money, because this bottle probably is fairly accessible for most people as Stone Brewing is a well-known organization in the craft beer industry.

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Photo of MagicJeff
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into a snifter

A: Clear amber/gold color with a small head retained throughout, minimal lacing after.

Smell: Sugary lemon, grapefruit and pine. Now that I think about it, a lot of sugary lemon, like candy almost.

Taste: Earthy, grassy piney citrus. Lemon is countered by some spicy rye on the back end. As others have noted, the rye is more prevalent than expected based off of the smell alone. I like how this one drinks; when you think it is almost too lemony, you taste some sweet malt to balance it out. Still a lemony after taste though.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, mouth is coated with a resiny-grapefruit/lemon taste. I like it.

Overall: I like this one a lot. Don't understand why some are bashing it--lemon oil is intense, so that's what you get when you throw it in a beer. Definitely worth buying a bomber and trying.

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Photo of B33R501
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this one alot. Better then it's being reviewed here, oh well that doesn't surprise me. Delicious and different.

Pretty, clear golden beer. Ok, I prefer thick, opaque, hazy. Smells light floral hops, bready malts. Will probably smell better in the bottle. Not many beers smell better on tap. Maybe Port ipas.

Taste big juicy floral citrus hops, fruity mix in the first sip. Big spicy lemon kick the next sip. Beautifully complex beer, every sip a little different with a nicely bitter hoppy aftertaste. Nice mouthfeel, and this is my second 10 oz draught so it must be drinkable, bomber size.

Well done. Like this one (alot) beter than Ruination 10th.

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Photo of travisdiener32
2.36/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up because I haven't sampled stone in awhile. Now I remember why.

Poured into delirium snifter, lots of head, decent retention, lighter amber than expected for a double. My initial smell was a familiar lemon pledge, pine-sol, lemon rind. Mouthfeel is difficult because its hard take your mind off the taste. I would say average feel for a DIPA. The taste is simply bad, the worst double I've ever had. It's as if they poured lemon oil on on top of each sip you take, as soon as any pine and resin comes in, waves of lemon oil stick to your tongue and emanate through your nostrils.

Overall, I don't know how a brewery releases this. The competition is so much better and more aware of it's consumers that releasing such a poorly constructed yearly flagship beer will force others to look elsewhere and be much more pleased.

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Photo of DrewV
2.11/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear brassy gold in the glass with a solid 2-finger white head. Lacing is nice. But unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. Honestly, I think those people rating this beer in the "3" or "4" range are being overly generous just because this came from the Stone brewery, because it definitely doesn't deserve it.

I give the aroma a solid "2". And that's being generous. the smell is like a potpourri of weird floral scents, lemongrass, with an odd spicy note that reminds me of Thai soup. Definitely doesn't smell like something I'm keen on drinking. But despite the off-putting aromas, I press on and take a sip.

The taste doesn't get any better... The flavors are much like the aroma. An odd melange of acrid flavors heavily based on lemongrass. It's difficult to pick out the hops, but I assume they're there somewhere. Is this an IPA? Who can tell? As to the mouthfeel, well, it's fine. But who cares at this point?

Stone usually hits the mark, but not with this one. Honestly one of the worst "high end" brews I've ever had. Let this serve as a warning to others. I can't get my $8 back, but maybe you can avoid wasting your time and money on this stuff. It's borderline undrinkable, quite frankly.

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Photo of jujigatame
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone 16th Anniversary IPA

Bomber into nonic pint

Dull orange-red. Not quite copper. Solid 1-1.5 finger head of white foam, a little pillowy on top. Good amount of lacing, quite sticky and coats much of the glass as consumed.

Lots of citrus fruit in the aroma. I can pick out lemon but it’s not especially strong at this point. Also getting a sweet sense from the smell.

Taste is very different at first blush. The regular IPA parts are all there but running beneath the surface for the most part because the lemon dominates. The lemon isn’t sour but seems to come across with a different manner of sharpness and bitterness than hops. No alcohol burn in the taste which surprised me but I can feel some of that warming sensation in my chest from the 10%. The bitter kick lingers more and more as the beer warms up. Right out of the fridge that taste would come and go quickly, but now it’s got much longer legs. The more I taste this beer and think on it I have to say it reminds me of Lagunitas Brown Shugga, just without the sugar. The core flavor I’m getting feels quite similar. Not a problem for me since I love Brown Shugga. I really don’t get much sense of spices in this beer. If I think I taste them they’re buried pretty far down.

Consistent carbonation on this one. Feels pretty nice on the tongue. Aftertaste is a little pucker-inducing.

I was not sure what to expect going in to this beer. Having read some rather mixed reviews I was a bit worried that I might not like it at all. Then I thought hey, it’s Stone and I’ve never really disliked anything from them. It felt and tasted very different to me cold compared to warm, more so than any other IPA that I can recall. When cold everything felt tightly packaged and it had a quick, distinct hit. Once it was in the glass for 15 minutes it’s like the contents are laid out and the flavor has really expanded. It’s good both ways but a bit odd to feel like you’re having two very different experiences in one glass. I’m curious what a couple more months of age would do to this. Don’t think I’d buy this again but I enjoyed it, even with the disjointed nature of the flavor across temperature range.

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Photo of MEsoJD
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Poured into a large Duvel Tulip Glass]

I: Ah this has definitely been a stone week for me. Anyway, I can't resist Stone Anniversary Brews, and behold this time I'm looking at their "16th Anniversary IPA". From the description it seems like their trying to go in a radical direction from tradition with this new ipa. There is a risk with trying to make a unique or complex beer, and that it's very easy for it to become messy or unbalanced. Though it wouldn't surprise me if Stone can pull it off, though not everything they brew is gold. With all of that said, my mouth is salivating.

B: [[10.0% ABV. 1 Pint. 6 Fl. OZ. August 2012 Release] While the artwork may not be completely original, the color scheme is very attractive. Even if this doesn't turn out to be a favorite it's too beautiful to throw away. With all of that said, all the general information you'd expect from Stone is there. Back story, ABV, date, ingredients, and etc...

A: Orange copper or amber slight hazy/transparent body with a scattered head(fast dissipation), and little lacing.

S: Dominated by lemon zest, other slight tropical flavors are complimented with some boozy alcohol aroma, various spices, herbal/floral hops, and bread malt.

T: Lemon zest upfront, lingering spicy herbal presence throughout, and rye/bread malt/tropical fruit aftertaste.

M: slick/oily dry finish, medium/full bodied, moderate carbonation, and apparent alcohol(sipper).

O: Oh god what happened during the creation of this beer? Sorry if that's disrespectful, but I'm truly surprised. A good example of an unbalanced brew. It was almost too much for the senses at times. It saddens me to say that I can't really find any favorable qualities of this beer(besides the bottle presentation), unless you like getting just buzzed. I hate being hard on Stone, but no ones perfect and breweries for that matter. I would only recommend to Stone fans(for the experience), and I wouldn't buy again... nice bottle though. Savor Good Beer!

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Photo of alk3kenny
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into my wild heaven glass. Nice ruby red copper color creamy white head sticking to the side of the glass. Smell is nice hops, resiny, slightly sweet. Not getting the lemon the beer claims to have in it. Let's have a taste... hops are there slight bitterness left behind. Some alcohol presence again not really getting the lemon shining through at all. Would expect some citrus brightness from this but I'm just not getting it. This hurts my taste score because it doesn't do much to deviate from a standard ipa/dbl ipa... a good beer drinkable perhaps my expectations were too high for a beer touted here in GA as only 300 bottles arriving in the state.

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Photo of bstave
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into retro Olympia glass.

This pores a transparent golden with a half finger white head. Nice lacing too. Smell is citrusy and pine with the lemon shining through. Not as big of a hop blast in the nose as I was expecting even after letting it warm up. Taste is awesome with big bittering hops that bring a big citrus and pine punch. The lemon is big too. Mouthfeel is spot on and alcohol isn't too overwhelming. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It was big on citrus with the lemon melding really nicely with the hops. Seek out this limited release.

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Photo of TaySuth
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: I cannot find a single fault with the appearance of this beer. Beautiful amber-brown in color with a solid head that refuses to go away.

Smell: Everything you expect from the aroma of an IPA with well balanced blasts of lemongrass, citrus, and spice. Very inviting.

Taste: Very unique flavor. Strong hop flavor of course but within the taste is what the aroma promised; lemongrass, citrus, and spice. On top of that, there is a certain baked bread flavor that I cannot quite put my finger on.

Mouthfeel: Great balance of body to the flavor. Just the right amount of carbonation to the body. Well done.

Overall: I'm a big fan of this beer by Stone and of Stone in general. They never cease to impress me.

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Photo of BabyBastard
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color, decent amount of head from a slightly aggressive pour into my snifter. Very appetizing looking ale. The lacing seems to sparkle in the light, leaves some great lacing around the entire glass. Nose is big citrusy hops, along with a zesty lemon scent. I really love the scent of this one, it makes you anticipate the next swig.
Taste is great, big hop bite, nice and bitter, but with that lemon zing that makes it a refreshing drink. Does mask the alcohol, surely doesn't taste like a 10% brew. Would reccomend this brew, great stuff in my opinion.

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Photo of mt24turner
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

clear copper color

smell: is explosively lemony with a depth of hop aroma lurking behind, personally i love the smell of this beer

taste: smooth malt and lemon upfront, followed by some alcohol warmth and spicy rye, the hops are not as intense as expected but come through strong in the finish.

overall: i really enjoyed this beer, even though it wasnt the furiously bitter ipa i had expected from stone, i enjoyed the change of pace bringing the lemon more to the front. absolutely an enjoyable brew and will buy some more

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Photo of MeneerBeerSnob
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a tulip. Dated August 2012.

A-Deep red copper with one finger of quickly disappearing head

S-Smells of crisp pine and rye with a background of malt and citrus notes. Almost can smell fresh cut grass.

T-Tastes like it smells. Hits your taste buds with malt and citrus and leaves the crisp pine on your tongue.

M-Light body with some frothy texture

O-Great beer. Really refreshing with no alcohol bite. another flavor stands out with every drink.

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Photo of ESPNman
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer comes out as a hazy, murky, nearly cloudy burnt orange. One finger of just slightly eggshell-of-pure-white white. The head lingers, giving way to a thick ring around the glass, leaves virtually no lacing to speak of.

S - This is where the beer really shines for me. The lemon comes through as a beautifully sweet lemon curdy-y counterbalance to the bitter citrusy hops. It's clearly an IPA, but the jammy lemon really shines through that and compliments the delicious hop aromas.

T - The taste does not sing in the same way that the nose does. The lemon is really masked by the big malt bill and supercharged hops in the recipe. The whole thing comes across as a little bit muddled. The parts, taken in isolation, would probably be very good. Together, they're just slightly north of okay.

M - Standard DIPA, with slightly less thickness on the palate. Compared to something like Southern Tier's Unearthly, this beer is on the thinner side of the spectrum. It's well carbonated... enough there to give the beer some lightness and carry the flavor, not so much as to be distracting.

O - Good, but not great. As far as Stone's anniversary releases go, this one ranks pretty far down on my list. With that said, the list is filled with phenomenal beers. This one comes across as more of a good brewhouse-only experimental release. It's something that I would gladly drink from time to time, but it's nothing spectacular.

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Photo of Nicked
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Stone delivers with this strong, yet tasty DIPA.

A: Lovely, hazy copper and gold. Sticky lacing follows you down the glass. Half of a finger of head dissipates quickly leaving a thin layer.

S: My second favorite feature of this beer is the smell. Hops dominate, but are balanced with a faint scent of pepper and lemon.

T: My favorite part of this beer! Bitter hops up front yields to a combination of bready malts and zesty lemon. Some might not like the flavor combination Stone worked into this ale, but I love it! The bready/lemon notes linger long after your sip.

M: Medium mouthfeel suits the style, complimenting the beer but not distracting from it.

O: Great! I recommend it highly. Another reviewer said it's a good beer for people who like lemon in their drink - he's right! Overall a very tasty summer DIPA celebrating 16 years of Stone! Hail beer!

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Photo of kshizzle101
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 22oz bomber

A - dark golden brown. 2-inch head which lingers

S - scents of pine, booze, and of course, lemon

T - Sweet, piney hops at first followed by a very lemony and spicy after taste. for a 10% DIPA, booziness is rather sneaky.

M - fairly heavy mouthfeel

Overall - This beer screams 'Stone.' They always think outside the box and this beer is no exception. A solid effort with good execution.

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Photo of coastiefish
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an imperial pint glass

A - Pretty copper pour, with a bubble packed carbonated 2 finger frothy head. Extremely inviting beer.

S - Subtle sweet malt, lemon pie, bit grassy, a touch spicy.

T - Real smooth. Lemony spices, a tiny bit of bitey hops.

M - Great full fluffy body, a bit oily, a touch dry on the finish.

O - This beer is fantastic. No gimmicks, no tricks, smooth, tasty

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Photo of lazjuarez
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a New Belgium chalice. Bottle dated: August 2012

A: Pours a beautiful golden/orange in color, crystal clear body, great carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass. About 2 fingers worth of an off-white fluffy head, receeding at a slow pace and leaving behind a good amount of lacing.

S: Nose is not a typical west coast IPA, but more like berries, green apple, lemon oil, bready malts, a bit complex. I'm getting a small note of spruce as well, but nevertheless, an amazing complex nose.

T: Taste is of bright citrus notes, some tropical fruits and berries, pineapple, and rounds off with a lemony spice mixed with spruce? Rye definitely adds some spice at the end and melds well with the bittering hops.

M: Light/medium mouthfeel; front of the tongue is blasted with bitterness, but just like that, the lemon oils and citrus notes balance the astringency, creating a sense of wanting more! End of the tongue is lightly coated with a bready, almost grilled rye, then washed away with an unnoticeable 10% ABV. I'm considering that the spruce note was in fact the lemon oil/verbana or the calypso hops which I'm not familiar with. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the astringency level...it was a bit low for Stone's standard, but all in all a solid DIIPA.

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Photo of DannyHartman
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As I pour a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass, a nice and thick 2+ inch head appears atop a beautiful hazy copper/dark orangish brew.... The beer has good retention and leaves plenty of lacing.

I take a whiff, and upfront, I get sweet bready malts.... It has only a little bit of a hoppy smell (which I wouldn't expect from a "DIPA"), and the slightest citrus notes.... That surprises me since this is supposed to be a "lemony" brew.

While tasting, it's definitely hoppy and bitter.... Delicious.... Also, I taste bready malts.... The citrus is more relevant in the taste.... Funny thing is that it's mostly grapefruit, though.... There is a bit of lemon as well.

I'd say this is a medium-bodied brew with medium carbonation, though it's the perfect amount of carbonation.... A bit oily with a boozy aftertaste.

I really enjoyed this beer.... I like the taste of it more so than the regular Stone IPA, but it's certainly not as hoppy tasting.... That's weird being that this is a "DIPA", but like I say.... I think it's delicious, and it's an easy drink for being a 10% ABV.... I'm going to rank this a bit lower than the "regular" IPA due to expectations of an "Anniversary" brew.... That, and I believe that the regular Stone IPA ranks up there with the best of "regular" IPA's.

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Photo of qthompso
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a Summit EPA glass. Pours a nice orangey hay color. A solid two fingers of cream head that laces quite a bit.

The nose is all lemon. It smells a bit like a household cleaner. Not bad by any means but not what I was expecting... yes, I know it's brewed with lemon verbena and lemon oil.

Interesting taste. Plenty of lemon! It's not pure lemon, though. I'm getting plenty of an herbal, tea-like taste as well. A unique taste, no doubt, as I would expect from Stone but this one is a bit too lemony for my liking.

Great mouthfeel. Very creamy and full bodied. Good carbonation.

Overall, a very unique IPA. I appreciate the innovation that Stone brings to market but this one is a bit too artificial and lemony for me. I'm sure there are plenty that enjoy it but I can't get past thinking Lemon Pinesol.

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Photo of hoody711
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had to pick it up. Cant be terrible right? I try not to read the other reviews prior to writing mine, lest I get caught up in the bias, but I was surprised by the number rating. I'm reviewing the 2nd half of the bottle.

A - into a tulip. It's a beautiful beer. Hazy, sunset indian red/orange. The head is off-white/ivory, the head is about 2 fingers, and the lacing is great.

S - malty backbone with a little hops, a little lemon, and maybe verbana? I don't know what verbana is, but maybe it's this. Maybe this reminds me of Hercules, but maybe I'm way off. I'll pop one of those after this, then edit this review if necessary. For 10%, I smell very little booze. There's a little there, and it fits very nicely.

T - malty and sweet, then a the slightly muted hoppy bitterness. Citrus and good. A little alcohol burn on the way out. It's good.

M - for a big burly beer, it's surprisingly clean and crisp. That, or my tastebuds are scorched off. But seriously, it's not as heavy on the palate as I would expect. There's a somewhat unpleasant tang at the base of the tongue on the way out. The alcohol warmth is nice.

O - in summary, a beautiful looking beer that smells good, but maybe not for a DIPA. Too much malt spine. The taste is similar - for a DIPA, I'd like less malt, but it's still a good beer. The mouthfeel is nice, but nothing special. I'm glad I bought it. Not Stone's best, but good. I assume my rating will be about 9% higher than the average.

Edit: only 2% higher than the average. Meh. Maybe bias.

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Photo of OTB
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper rust pour with a huge tan head. Yup, there's no hiding the lemon extracts used in this brew. A huge lemon infused nose greets you immediately then the citrus fruit appears again as you take your first sip. I pick up zero influence from the Rye addition, it's a citrus fruit bomb for sure. It's a tad sweet and you can pick up the heat from the high ABV. Not worth seeking out again.

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Photo of HarrySTruman
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured goldish orange, A tyical IPA/DIPA look.

Smelled of hops in a big way. Grassy and floral. Some citrus popped out as well. As many others have mentions, the citrus was close to a lemon smell. It wasn't really that appealing as a smell, a bit to big, and if the nose were the flavor I would call in unbalanced.

The taste was goood. It had a citrus flavor, but the alcohol and the malt backbone did a good job of balancing the flavor. I thought the flavor made this 10% abv very drinkable. A bit much on the citrus flavors, but it did a good job in balancing some of the more mudane flavors.

Medium with a moderate amount of carbonation. Not thin, not thick, just right on a DIPA.

This beer will get you drunk, plain and simple. It's easy to drink, it has a high ABV, and it tastes pretty good. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to try this on draft, but it isn't one of the best examples of the style. I think Stone had big dreams for this beverage and they fell just a bit short, but it was still a high quality drink and one that I would certainly drink again if I found it on tap.

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Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer appears as a cloudy, hazy orange/copper color that very little light shows through. Almost looks like a lighter apple cider. Thick, three finger head of off-white foam.

Smell is very strong up front with pine, resin, lemon and subtle mint. Not picking up muchin the way of the rye described on the label.

Upon first sip it's mostly slightly citrusy tang followed by some sweet malt and then finishes with a balanced hop finish. The lemon doesn't really work with the beer, for my tastes, and overpowers it, giving it an almost unnatural taste.

Mouthfeel is a little heavy and syrup-like, but not to a fault. Nicely carbonated and carries the depth of flavors well.

Overall, this is a slightly disappointing effort from a remarkably consistent brewery. This won't deter me from purchasing and consuming all of the other excellent Stone Brewery products, but I can't imagine going out of my way to drink the 16th anniversary brew again.

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Photo of Clowerweb
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber orange, cloudy but very clean looking without any visual sediment. Looks beautiful!

Solid white, three fingers of tight foamy head. Dissipated into two fingers after about 60 seconds, one finger 60 seconds after that, and mostly dissipated completely about 4-5 minutes after the pour - retention is great here. Leaves a nice sticky spiral lacing. 5/5

Aroma: The nose is of piney hops with a floral hint (the lemon grass coming through.) Fairly moderate, not overpowering. Smells a lot like the "Arrogant/Double Bastard" varieties, but maybe slightly weaker. Nothing offensive in the aroma though and it has great depth and pleasant appeal, I just wish it was ever so slightly more powerful because I had to really get my nose on it to pick up the full aroma. 4/5

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells, but it's definitely got a more potent flavor than what the aroma would lead you to expect. Pine hops galore - tastes a lot like the beers that are continually hopped in stages. I'm not an overly huge fan of most IPAs in general because of the piney flavor, but I try not to deduct points on personal taste - this is what you're supposed to get with a beer in this category, and it does its job very well. It's a hop head's dream, but it's mostly solely piney and lacks the depth and subtle complexity that's present in the aroma.

I didn't pick up much, if any, of the lemon verbena. There is a light hint of sweet, earthy malts but not enough to counter the nearly overpowering pine hops which stand out much more than anything else. A perfectly layered flavor should have nothing in particular overshadowing anything else. It is possible to have a high EBU beer that's still nicely balanced and with amazing depth and complexity; this one misses the mark by unfortunately choosing to follow the trend of "hops, hops, pine, high EBU, more hops". While this trend does have a small cult following, it is not the hallmark of a good IPA in my opinion, and following trends is not typically Stone's style, so I found this a bit uncharacteristic. There is nothing wrong with high EBUs and excessive hopping as long as it's balanced and sports good depth and some complexity. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: The first thing that stands out for me is the gravity. This beer is nice and thick, heavy but not overly heavy. Leaves a very light tingle on the tip of the tongue. Goes down very smooth, but the carbonation is lacking. I would have liked just a touch more pop rather than a mostly flat feel. 4/5

Overall I'm giving this beer a 4/5. This is definitely a fine craft beer, and I would expect no less from Stone. However, for all the things that this beer gets right, it misses the mark in another area, albeit just barely, but there are enough small things to merit an overall loss of a full point.

To me, it seems like they are riding on the coat tails of beers like DFH 90 Minute IPA, Victory's Hopdevil and Troegs' Nugget Nectar with this one. Stone doesn't need to stand on the shoulders of giants - they have proven in the past that they can stand on their own, and I hope this isn't a sign of them resigning from uniqueness and innovation.

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16th Anniversary IPA from Stone Brewing
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,395 ratings.
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