Updated Review 08/10
OK, it’s now a year old, but the total write-off that 14th is, inspired me to re-visit 13th. $6.49 from Highland Beverage, Hiram, GA, USA for the 22 oz bottle.
Stone suggest NOT to cellar this, but…
…not quite the clarity from a year ago, but still a great head and super retention. Really frothy and dense. Nice.
As expected the malts have come to the fore but it is still a beer that delivers a decent amount of bitterness, especially in the back end. Still a little burn in the chest on the way down. 13th retains balance though, and although it’s not the same beer as it was a year ago, I still really like the brew.
Scores unchanged from the original review.
Original Review 07/09
$6.49 for the 22 oz bomber from Charleston Beer Exchange, Charleston, GA, USA. The usual Stone presentation with the screen printed bottle and spiel.
Pour is a resplendent red with high head, excellent retention and spectacular lace. It looks superb.
The nose reveals massive West Coast hops but they are supported by malts and a body that can handle the assault.
Tastes are quintessential “Imperial Red”. The American Amber/American Strong Ale category is one that can support this kind of barrage, and Stone is at the peak of its powers when it produces beers like this. As much as I enjoy Stone’s Belgian takes, experimental beers and other beers, this is where their nascent genius really comes to the fore.
A bitter ATTACK on the tongue followed by a soft, gentle caress; a massive hop assault followed by a balance that is unique; a stormy cascade followed by a backbone of strength. This is the beauty of Stone. It reminds me of those initial moments with Double Bastard where my breath was momentarily taken away.
The bitterness lingers and the alcohol and hops sting, but the combination is a bitter sweet, pleasure/pain experience.
Imperious. A truly great beer and my praise is not given lightly. Congratulations Stone.