Stone Soaring Dragon Imperial IPA: A Sensational Synergy of White Tea and Hops

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Jason, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,518) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    ESCONDIDO, CA (April 20, 2020) – The newest special release from Stone Brewing is now available and its journey to the brewhouse was no small feat. This beer required years of trials and a quest for perfect ingredients to achieve such exquisite balance. Stone Soaring Dragon Imperial IPA harmonizes the delicate floral qualities of White Tea with Citra and Loral hops.

    Stone’s brewers have long experimented with teas in beer: Green tea, Earl Grey, Chai, Jasmine and more. Two years ago, the brewers set out on a series of trials to nail a perfect recipe for a national release. A trip to the famous Tianshan Tea City market offered exploration into white tea varieties, where they finally landed on the aromatic White Peony Tea for the win.

    The resulting beer is a lesson in balance and harmony. The brewers achieved synergy between a complex and delicate tea and bold hop character. White Peony Tea is known for its herbal and stone fruit attributes that are subtle enough to complement hops without adding too much bitterness. As a result, the tea qualities dominate in the aroma. Flavors of raspberry, cinnamon, honey, sage and grapefruit pith are balanced with a sweet malt backbone. It’s refreshing while serving up that double IPA punch of flavor.

    “We’re always trying to make a really unique beer, and that doesn’t have to be so complicated,” explained Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing Senior Manager of Brewing & Innovation – Small Batch. “This is an example of just that. When you have the best ingredients, you don’t have to do much else. We get the best hops money can buy and we sourced a tea that’s simply spectacular. You can taste the quality in this beer.”

    Stone Soaring Dragon Imperial IPA is available in 12oz six-pack cans and 22oz bottles nationwide. It is available online for shipping in California at


    : Stone Soaring Dragon Imperial IPA
    Release Date: Week of April 20, 2020
    Stats: 8% ABV; 38 IBUs
    Availability: Special Release
    Packaging: 12oz six-pack cans and 22oz bottles
    Find Beer:

    Gold, clear, thin white head.
    Aroma: Floral, tea, herbal, calendula, lemon and lychee as well as apricot and other stone fruit aromas.
    Taste: Raspberry, cinnamon stick and clover honey with hints of coconut and papaya, spearmint, sage, clean white tea and grapefruit pith.
    Palate: Sweet malt backbone with soft tannin.

    Jidori Wings*, Labneh Rolls, Cucumber Sandwiches (triangle cut, crusts off, and pinkies out… we’re not hooligans here), Lo Mai Gai (Chinese Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus or Banana Leaf)
    Soups and Salads: Fruity Goat Salad (with seasonal fruits and shredded fillo-wrapped goat cheese)*, Won Ton Soup, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
    Main Courses: Yucatan Pork Taco*, Vegetarian Pho, Falafel Plate with Tzatziki Sauce, Trout Amandine
    Desserts: Madeleines, Coconut Ice Cream, Baklava, Tamarind Cookies

    *Menu items available for pickup and delivery at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station.

    Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, the groundbreaking San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 9th largest craft brewer in the United States. Recognized as an award-winning industry leader, Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 12 times and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The company operates breweries in Escondido, CA and Richmond, VA, plus nine tap room and bistro locations throughout the US and the nation’s largest craft-centric beer distributor, Stone Distributing Co. Stone’s bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers are available in all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide. For more information on Stone Brewing and its commitment to independence, sustainability, philanthropy and the art of brewing, visit or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    Roguer likes this.
  2. BruChef

    BruChef Aspirant (215) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    Man, I hate to complain, but for me personally, this does not seem like a beer that needs to be 8%.
    dukeandduke, ESHBG and matts2896 like this.
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,149) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    You had me at raspberry and tea. I'll look out for it.
  4. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (139) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Or 升龍帝國 in Hong Kong, Taiwan and for most overseas Chinese.
  5. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,107) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Interesting, but I'd rather just try a single than commit to a whole pack.

    I don't know why, but I'm always weirded out or turned off by the idea of beer brewed with tea. I don't know why because it makes perfect sense on paper.
    drunkenmess likes this.
  6. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (541) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Had one last night... probably one the more "complex" and better offerings from Stone in a long time
  7. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (725) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    Any new beer from Stone that is not an IPA?

    In any case, I hope it makes its way to Chile.
    micada and drunkenmess like this.
  8. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (925) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan

    Last time I bought a full 6er (IPAs not stouts) from Stone was back when they brewed their Mocha IPA. Actually think I bought 2 after trying it. Such a well done IPA. Need to brew that one again. :beers:
  9. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,107) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Yes, they do! That was a very great beer. Such an underdog. Coffee IPAs are sorely underappreciated. On that note, give 1966 from 21st Amendment a try! That's the only coffee IPA I've seen around since Mocha and it's really solid.
    RonChez, ESHBG and drunkenmess like this.
  10. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (925) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan

    Nice. Will do. Just started seeing 21st Amendment in stores beginning of last year.
    On another note would also love to start seeing Ballast Point, Calm Before the Storm. Pretty decent coffee cream ale. :beers:
    ESHBG and HorseheadsHophead like this.
  11. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,107) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Same! Coffee blonde ales are often unexpectedly amazing. The simplicity and subtle sweetness of a pale beer allows the coffee to shine. With dark beers, coffee compliments but is often in stark competition with the complexity of the base beer itself. On that note, I miss Sixpoint C.R.E.A.M. I only now, in hindsight, realize how great that beer was.
    drunkenmess, hillind and ESHBG like this.
  12. craigbelly

    craigbelly Meyvn (1,173) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa

    I'm a tea drinker at night if it's not a beer and white tea makes zero sense. White tea is the lightest tea varietal. Has little to no flavor and is always paired with a fruit or flavoring. Tea seems more if a gimmick here and more to do with the hops.
    MaltheadWeirdo likes this.
  13. hillind

    hillind Aspirant (263) Apr 24, 2010 Pennsylvania

    This beer is really good. Stone gets a lot of hate on here, but their last few IPAs have been very good. Viking Space Probe, Peak Conditions and now this... they’re on a little run here. Of course I do think they’ve all been overpriced as well.
  14. waltari

    waltari Initiate (75) Jan 28, 2016 Georgia

    I would buy a case of Mocha IPA if they release it again.
    drunkenmess and hillind like this.
  15. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (925) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan

    I liked Space probe and whatever that lo-cal/carb one was that they did. But not enough to commit to a full pack. They always seem over priced IMO at least in my neck of the woods. For being known as the king of IPAs it almost seems like their grasping at straws now... DSDF :beers:
    hillind likes this.
  16. hillind

    hillind Aspirant (263) Apr 24, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I haven’t bought full sixers either, split a 6 with a buddy on Peak Conditions and was offered the other 2. I was pleasantly surprised by all 3, but not enough to drop $17 for a six pack.
    ESHBG and drunkenmess like this.
  17. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (288) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    That's been my issue also. I usually like the beer when I try a single but not enough to pay a premium for a six pack. I know that this comment may get some flack but anymore I view Stone as kind of a macro in the craft world where they make good, solid beers but I am never blown away. Something to be said for that for sure BUT that formula only works for me when the beers are a value buy; Lagunitas is a good example of the right formula.
    drunkenmess and hillind like this.
  18. micada

    micada Disciple (362) Jul 13, 2015 New York

    Agreed. Small batch stuff like Fyodor is amazing.
    eldoctorador and drunkenmess like this.
  19. ElGallo

    ElGallo Savant (963) Sep 26, 2009 New Hampshire

    This beer tastes like an IPA with white tea. It delivers as advertised. Nothing earth shattering, but it tastes good, and the tea mutes most of the hop bitterness. Good as a single; I would not want to drink more than one in a day.
    Blogjackets, ESHBG and hillind like this.
  20. beerwego

    beerwego Initiate (63) Dec 5, 2019

    Stone getting hate boggles by mind. I simply do not get it
    errantnight and waltari like this.
  21. waltari

    waltari Initiate (75) Jan 28, 2016 Georgia

    Same here, and most of those folks will easily drop $16-$18 on a NE IPA from a subpar local brewery.
  22. hillind

    hillind Aspirant (263) Apr 24, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I went through a good stretch ( 2 years maybe?) where I thought every single IPA Stone put out tasted exactly the same. At their price point, I simply stopped buying with the exception of their standard IPA when fresh. Lately though, I feel like they’ve turned a corner (imo of course). They may be slowly reeling me back in.
  23. beerwego

    beerwego Initiate (63) Dec 5, 2019

    Out of curiosity, which ones tasted alike?
  24. hillind

    hillind Aspirant (263) Apr 24, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Sanctimonious, Idolatrous, Exalted, and even Ghost Hammer all cane across very similar to me. I’m pretty sure there are others that are escaping me as well.
    ESHBG likes this.
  25. beerwego

    beerwego Initiate (63) Dec 5, 2019

    I never tried the first two. Thanks for responding
    pjeagles likes this.
  26. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (725) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    IDK, I don't hate or love them. I do hate their lagers though, they do not know how to make them. Also, they used to be trendsetting now they follow trends
  27. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (541) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Is it because all their lagers invariably become IPLs?
    pjeagles likes this.